The main reason that alcohol is legal is that when the government tried to make it illegal, it caused more problems than it solved. Alcohol is apparently a fundamental part of our lives. When it is legal we can tax and regulate it.
Making alcohol legal also gave our government a means of regulating its production-the ingredients, the distilling of, the distribution, and etc. This should make the finished product much less risky than those privately manufactured without restrictions or guidelines. In addition, it can then be taxed which brings money into the government coffers.
Many (or perhaps most) things that people do for pleasure have their accompanying ill-effects. It isn't possible to make everything that can cause harm if used or done without thinking about the consequences illegal.
It would be a more practical idea to allow those which are less dangerous to continue and use the resources saved to concentrate on the extremely high risk activities. I am placing the consumption of alcohol in the category or things that can be done in moderation without causing too much harm.
We all need some sources of pleasure a wise policy requires some to be made available that are relatively benign, else everyone would end up using alternatives that kill.
And to add to that, the alcohol lobby is powerful enough that no one would ever suggest these days to ban it. It doesn't matter if it leads to loads of traffic and other deaths because of its influence. It doesn't matter if it is bad for you like cigarettes.
And even more important than that, it has become such a deep and abiding part of Americana, look at the Budweiser commercials for almost every team in the MLB, it has ingrained itself into the fabric of American existence.
Alcohol is legal in the United States because it is traditional and because it is not as harmful as the sorts of drugs that are banned.
The drinking of alcohol has been going on since before human history began. Because of this, it is part of the heritage of just about every ethnic group that has come to make up part of America. When something has that much tradition behind it, it is very unlikely that it could ever be banned for any long period of time.
I would argue that alcohol might be banned if it had been invented ten years ago. But it has been around forever and it does not hurt most people as badly as cocaine or things like that do, so it continues to be legal.
im confused i dont know why its legal