Prior to 1984, the minimum drinking age was set on a state-by-state basis and underwent a great number of changes. Before the Prohibition Era, which began in 1919, there existed no minimum alcohol purchase or public possession age. During Prohibition, obviously, no one was allowed to sell or make alcohol at all. However, people were allowed to make their own person alcohol (up to a certain annual limit).
When Prohibition ended in December of 1933, many states established the legal drinking age of 21 years. Some set theirs lower, at 18 or 20, but the majority used 21 years. These restrictions remained in place until the Vietnam Era, which spanned the years of 1964-1975. Some states lowered their drinking ages at some point during this period, while others left theirs unchanged.
The State of Washington maintained the same legal drinking age of 21 from the beginning of Prohibition until the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984.
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