By Alyssa Schnugg
When the new year rolls around, Lafayette County residents can legally toast to 2021 with a cold beer.
On June 24, Gov. Tates Reeves signed a bill into law that lifts restrictions on the possession of liquor, beer and wine across the state.
While most of Mississippi is already “wet” and allow the sale and possession of alcohol or beer and wine, 29 remain completely dry and 31 counties, like Lafayette County, allow the possession of liquor but not beer and wine.
House Bill 1087, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2021, will allow all counties to be wet by default for the possession of liquor and beer and wine, including Lafayette County.
“From and after January 1, 2021, prohibition is renounced as to the possession of alcoholic beverages. It shall thereafter be lawful to possess alcoholic beverages throughout the state,” the bill states.
The city of Oxford is wet for both liquor and beer and wine already.
While beer will be legal to possess in the county, sales are still restricted by those authorized by Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control.
Counties can hold an election to reinstate any alcohol restrictions.
Lafayette County Sheriff Joey East said he would have preferred if the state legislators allowed counties to make that decision upfront, instead of lifting the prohibition statewide and then require counties to hold an election.
“The legislator took it upon themselves to change the dynamics of counties,” East said Thursday. “People of Lafayette County should have had the right to vote on that. I believe in the system.”
East said he was told the push to list the restrictions across the state came up because people who were driving through dry counties were receiving citations if they had alcohol (unopened) in their vehicle.
“I don’t see it affecting a lot for us,” East said.