As a parent, you may assume that you have the discretion to decide when and where your underage child tries alcohol for the first time and/or consumes adult beverages. Like many other parents, you would be wrong.
According to Britannica ProCon.org, 45 states have exceptions that allow for the underage consumption of alcohol in select circumstances. Of those, 29 states allow minors to consume alcohol on private property and with the permission of a parent or legal guardian. While Arizona does provide for two exceptions, is not one of the 29 more lenient states. Rather, the only two exceptions state law grants are for religious and medical purposes.
Underage drinking for medical purposes
Arizona is one of 16 states that allow minors to drink alcohol for medicinal purposes. What constitutes as “medicinal” varies from state to state but generally speaking, this exception is only valid if a licensed physician prescribes or administers the substance. The 16 states that make this exception have the authority to establish their own rules regarding the age at which a minor may consume alcohol for medical purposes.
Underage drinking for religious purposes
A religious exemption is the second most common exemption allowing for the underage consumption of alcohol, next to the private property exception. In 26 states, minors may consume alcohol if doing so is part of a religious ceremony. Like with the medical exception, state law limits the circumstances in which this exception applies. However, states generally agree that an official religious representative must furnish the substance for underage drinking to be legal.