With graduation approaching and summer weddings and other events imminent, its a good time to review our local Social Host Ordinance.
Under Minnesota law, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years to possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it at a place other than the household of the person’s parent or guardian. In almost all other cases of underage drinking, someone has broken a law. The Social Host Ordinance provides for criminal liability for those who provide a place for underage drinking, regardless of where the alcohol comes from. Violation of the social host ordinance is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
Consuming or possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 is a violation of Minnesota law. However, usually for that violation to occur, a third party must also have broken a law. Some obvious offenders are adults who buy alcohol for, or provide alcohol to, an underage person, or who loan their driver’s license or identification card to an underage person for the purpose of purchasing alcohol.
Not as readily apparent is the adult who allows an underage person to possess or consume alcohol on his or her property. The Kanabec County Board of Commissioners and the City of Mora adopted the Social Host Ordinance with the intent of holding those adults responsible when they are aware of underage drinking on their property and allow it to occur.
Prior to the adoption of the social host ordinance, state laws contained a loophole, whereby individuals who hosted a party for underage drinkers escaped liability if these social hosts did not actually provide the alcohol. The social host ordinance was intended to close this gap.
It is the shared goal of the Office of the Kanabec County Attorney, Office of the Kanabec County Sheriff and the Substance Abuse Coalition of Kanabec County (SACK) to keep our youth and young adults, and all community members safe as we enjoy this summer.
Click Here for more information about the Social Host!