When are you really an adult?

In Alaska, teenagers as young as 14 can get married with a court order. Only a handful of states allow drinking under 21 and that is under strict circumstances, like when a parent or legal guardian is present.

Eighteen-year-old adults can run for office, go to strip clubs, be sentenced to life in prison, and volunteer to go to war or be drafted, but as of last December, they cannot vape or smoke tobacco products.

And since 1984, when states began raising the legal age of drinking to 21 from 18 in exchange for federal highway funds — in some cases barely a decade after lowering it — they have not been able to buy a beer at a bar in most of the United States, a restriction that has infuriated college students ever since.

“If 18-year-olds are burdened with the responsibility of adulthood, they should be afforded some of its privileges,” said Charlotte Lawson, a 21-year-old fourth-year student at the University of Virginia who wrote an opinion piece in the campus paper in 2018 calling for the drinking age to be lowered from 21.

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