(This is Part 2 of a two-part series on absinthe. To read Part 1, click here)
Absinthe: Can You Legally Own It?
If you are old enough to own alcohol, you can probably own absinthe. The legality of ownership depends on the percentage of thujone in the drink. The United States government now allows absinthe sales as long as it is “thujone free” — which is defined as having less than ten parts per million thujone. It is illegal in the U.S. to own or possess absinthe with higher levels of thujone, but so far we are not seeing major thujone busts, stings or crackdowns. Thujone has a low enforcement priority for U.S. law enforcement agencies. How do I know? Law enforcement officers patrol with various drug-testing kits, but I have yet to read about one who who carries a test kit for thujone!
Nevertheless, the U.S. government cares about how much thujone is in your absinthe. Therefore, buy legal absinthe at a liquor store
and not on the Internet. U.S.-regulated liquor stores sell absinthe with permissible thujone levels. Beware of the numerous websites that advertise Eastern European absinthe, which is often marketed as the “gold standard” or “real deal.” Each bottle contains high levels of thujone and sells well over $150.00! These websites promise that this absinthe is safe, legal and can be shipped to you. Is all that true? The short answer is no — it is not legal, and you should not be ordering absinthe from Eastern Europe. You are setting yourself up to receive a package that is suspect and likely to be checked by U.S. government authorities. When you get that knock on your door, will it be the delivery person or an agent from the . Are you feeling lucky?
Can You Carry an Open Container with Absinthe?
Not in a city or in any vehicle. Carrying alcohol in either instance will get you a ticket and possible suspension of your driver’s license.
Can I Drive a Vehicle After Drinking Absinthe?
The answer is no, never. Absinthe is not your mom’s wine cooler. There is a reason, whether it’s alcohol or thujone, that a lot of painters and poets thought absinthe was a legendary cocktail. Absinthe, even after one drink, is going to hit you smack between the eyes. There is no “Green Fairy” defense to drunk driving.
Can I Date and Drink Absinthe?
Of course. But like any beverage, getting your date completely whacko before sex is to court a date rape charge. The law says that if you have sex with someone who cannot figure out what they are doing, or is unable to say no, then you have raped them. There is no Green Fairy defense to date rape, either.
There is an inexpensive way to figure out whether or not you can do something after consuming absinthe. Would you undertake the considered action after two or three cocktails of another type consumed within an hour? Six or eight over two hours? Now plug in the activity: driving, marrying someone, consenting to sex, operating heavy machinery? If you want to avoid embarrassment, criminal charges and keep your driver’s license, the answer is no.
Shaun Kaufman Law defends people charged with crimes related to all types of substance abuse, including absinthe-related matters.