Social Host Ordinances

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A social host ordinance makes it illegal to provide a location where underage substance use takes place. Across Minnesota it is illegal to provide alcohol and other substances to a person under 21. Unfortunately, current State Statute does not clearly make it illegal to allow underage substance use in one’s home or property.  A Social Host ordinance closes that loophole.

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What a Social Host Ordinance Is and Is Not

A social host ordinance is about keeping our youth safe and healthy and encouraging them to make decisions that will contribute to their future success. The focus is not about penalizing or “catching” people, nor adding unnecessary laws that add to the workload of law enforcement and the courts. A Social Host Ordinance excludes landlords and property owners while they are away from the property, provided they were unaware that illegal consumption was going to occur on their property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most common questions about a Social Host Ordinance include concerns about: property managers and landowners; parents who are out of town; and adults who are home, but don’t know about the underage consumption behavior.

A social host ordinance only holds someone responsible if they knowingly provide an environment where underage consumption occurs. An off-site property manager, a farmer with many acres, or parents away on vacation cannot be held responsible if they didn’t know about the behavior. Any resident, even if he/she is under 21, can be charged with a social host violation if they are found responsible for allowing underage consumption to occur.

Who Has Adopted a Social Host Ordinance?

In Partnership for Change region: Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo (expanded Social Host Ordinance, see more here), and Plymouth, as well as 95 other Minnesota cities, have a Social Host Ordinance.

For a list of Minnesota cities and counties with a Social Host ordinance, click here.

What Does This Mean for Me?

Continue doing what you do as a responsible parent/caring adult. Do not allow underage consumption in your home. Supervise parties if your children have friends over. Let your children know that they can be charged as a social host if they host a party while you are away.

Some parents mistakenly believe they can allow underage consumption in their home. They may think it’s not a big deal. They may think they can keep youth safe if they drink at home. Underage consumption is dangerous and allowing it to occur is illegal. Period. Don’t be a party to underage consumption.