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Timeline of alcohol in Alaska

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1867 — The United States purchases Alaska from Russia, and the territory is placed under jurisdiction of the War Department. Shipments of “spirituous liquors or wines” into Alaska are prohibited.

1869 — The Army openly sells confiscated liquor in Sitka

1877 — Nearly 5,000 gallons of molasses, the main ingredient in homemade spirits, are landed in Sitka

1877 — The Treasury Department is given regulatory authority over the Territory of Alaska. The importation and manufacture of beer and wine is allowed, but distilled spirits are prohibited. No sales are allowed to Alaska Natives.

1884 — Civil government is created in Alaska. Alcohol is prohibited except for medicinal, mechanical and scientific purposes. Little is done to enforce the laws.

1887 — Law is amended to allow the importation of liquor for “sacramental purposes.”

1892 — U.S. Collector of Customs becomes responsible for landing of liquor. The territorial governor issues permits for sale.

1894 — The Internal Revenue Service begins issuing tax stamps for liquor dealers.

1899 — A $1,000 license is placed on all Alaska liquor dealers, creating the first liquor license in the United States.

1918 — Two years before the nation enacts prohibition, the citizens of Alaska enact the “Bone Dry” law, with 62 percent voting in approval.

1920 — The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution becomes law and Congress passes the Volstead Act. The nation goes dry.

1933 — The 21st Amendment repeals prohibition in the U.S.

1933 — The Territorial Legislature creates the Board of Liquor Control. Alcohol sales remain illegal to Alaska Natives.

1934 — Alaska’s first alcohol beverage regulations are adopted, subject to approval of U.S. Congress.

1953 — Prohibition of liquor sales to Alaska Natives is lifted.

1959 — Alaska becomes a state. The Legislature creates the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

1979 — Legislature revises alcohol laws, including a provision allowing communities to prohibit sale and importation of alcoholic beverages.

1986 — “Local option” law is amended to allow communities to prohibit alcohol possession.

1995 — Barrow becomes the largest city in Alaska to ban possession of alcoholic beverages.

2007 — The Fairbanks Wellness Court, a jail diversion program that provides treatment for DUI offenders, is established.

2009 — The Fairbanks Police Department established its Downtown Task Force, a four-officer unit that responds to street drinking and chronic inebriate issues in downtown Fairbanks.

2012 — Tanana Chiefs Conference opens a Housing First development on South Cushman Street, offering housing units for chronic inebriates.

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