Freedom, delicious freedom
One of the last quirky examples of aberrant, outrageous-sounding in-state freedom -- Montana's permissiveness of cracking open a frosty behind the wheel -- is going by the wayside, after lawmakers caved to the federal guvmint's threat to withhold $5 million in highway funding.
Being exactly 100km from the Montana border, this is something I actually have some personal experience with. In 2003, I was doing a bunch of work at the Coutts/Sweetgrass border crossing, which you've probably never heard of, but is I believe the biggest crossing between Surrey, BC and Sarnia, ON. About 30 minutes south of the border is the Four Corners Bar, which architecturally resembles a body shop, excepting the large "EAT" sign painted on the side facing the highway.
The happy hour special is three 20-oz. cans of Bud for $5 (tremendous!). When you order it, you actually get one can, and two wooden poker chips; the chips can be redeemed for beers even after happy hour, or on another day (tremendous-er!).
Got done a little early in Coutts one day, and a pipefitter gave me two of these chips and recommended that I check the place out. I figured I had a bit of time before I got in too much trouble at home, so I did.
(Sidebar - fastest border crossing ever:
U.S. Customs Officer: "Where ya headed?"
Me (holding up wooden chip): "Going to have a beer."
Officer: [silent wave-through, c/w slight smile and head shake]
So I go to this bar and have a beer. I'm finishing it up, and the bartender looks at the other wooden chip in front of me and says, "Ready for another?" I say no, I have to be getting back to Lethbridge. So the guy says, "Well why don't you just take it with you?" And I say, "Huh?"
He explains that it's perfectly legal. I'm usually reluctant to accept legal advice from a bartender, especially one who is himself drinking a beer at 4:30 in the afternoon, but here I take it. I walk out of the bar with my Bud tall-boy, start the car, put it in drive, and crack the beer, and take a long swig.
Do you know how good that feels? Engaging in a perfectly safe activity, with no fear that a cop will charge me under a law that exists solely because it "sends the right message"?
That might be the most I've ever enjoyed a beer. And I find it regrettable that people in the future will be denied that same enjoyment, in the name of national standards and cultural attitudes.