Ohio voted to repeal Prohibition on November 7, 1933. That vote—which passed by a margin of over 70%—was ratified on December 5th. Ohio had an interesting experience with Prohibition, as the stories below illustrate.

  • The first legal challenge to Prohibition, the Supreme Court case Hawke v. Smith, came out of Ohio in 1920. Apparently Ohio's constitution reserved to the people the right to challenge via petition and referendum the state legislature's approval of any potential amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Within ninety days of Ohio's approval of the 18th Amendment, a petition was signed and a majority of Ohio voters voted against Prohibition. While the Supreme Court upheld Prohibition despite of this, the case strengthened the view that Prohibition was backed by special interest groups and not what the people themselves wanted

  • Ohio, like many states during Prohibition, had a problem with poison liquor. A newspaper article from 1929 ran a story about four teenagers who drank poisonous alcohol and were either dead, dying or ill.

  • Prohibition officers also were often killed by bootleggers in Ohio. One newspaper article tells of the death of a dry agent in Steubenville, Ohio, under suspicious circumstances. His body was found in a ditch beside a highway.


Kyvig, David E. Repealing National Prohibition. 2nd ed. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State UP, 2000. Pages 14-16.

Ohio Youth Dead, One Dying, Two Ill After Poison Liquor Spree , The Hartford Courant (1923-present); Nov 7, 1929; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1764 – 1984) , pg. 9

PROHIBITION AGENT SLAIN. , New York Times (1857-Current file); Mar 2, 1921; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2004) , pg. 3