The Strangest Law in Every State

Think twice before selling a non-bouncing pickle in Connecticut.

The Strangest Law in Every State

Think twice before selling a non-bouncing pickle in Connecticut.

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Living in a nation broken up into states has its advantages and disadvantages. Because of each state’s unique history, there are some laws and rules you’re going to have to follow—many of which are pretty nonsensical—if you’re planning on doing any interstate traveling.

The good news? You’d have to be trying pretty hard to break a few of these weird laws, some of which exist for reasons beyond the bounds of normal human imagination. To illustrate, we’ve rounded up the most ridiculous law in every state, so you don’t find yourself in handcuffs for taking a nap in a cheese shop or misrepresenting a pickle. And if you want to know what else differentiates each of the states, discover The One Thing People in Every State Can’t Live Without.

bad puns

1
No Maiming Yourself — Alabama

In Alabama, it’s against the law to maim yourself with the intent to “excite sympathy” or get charitable relief.

bartenders will secretly stop serving you if you're too drunk

2
Don’t Be Drunk in a Bar — Alaska

In most places, it’s against the law to serve visibly intoxicated people, but in Alaska, it’s against the law to let a drunk person stay in a bar. It’s also illegal for a drunk person to go into a bar, which must make for some pretty tame bachelor parties. And it might not keep you from getting kicked out of a bar in Alaska, but if you’re concerned about your health, you should know that This Is Exactly How Much Alcohol You Should Drink.

pig mayor

3
No Feeding Garbage to Pigs — Arizona

In Arizona, if you want to give trash to a pig, you need a permit. However, the need for a permit is waived if the pig is your pig, and you’re only feeding it trash from your house.

Apologize, boss

4
Pronounce the State Name Correctly — Arkansas

In Arkansas, while it’s not technically illegal to mispronounce “Arkansas,” there is an official way to pronounce it, and pronouncing it Ar-Kansas, is “an innovation to be discouraged.” And for more wacky tidbits about America, discover The Craziest Fact About Every U.S. State.

Wood frog

5
You Can’t Eat Specific Frogs — California

You can eat as many frogs as you want in California, as long as they didn’t die in a frog jumping contest. Those frogs are off-limits.

vacuuming carpet

6
Vacuum Lending Not Allowed — Colorado

In Denver, it’s against the law to lend a vacuum cleaner to your neighbor, but you can lend them a broom.

hobbies for your 40s

7
Pickles Have to Bounce — Connecticut

A pickle’s not a pickle in Connecticut unless it bounces when dropped from a height of one foot. Apparently, pickle scammers tried to sell pickles that weren’t fit for human consumption in 1948, making this standard necessary. And for even more ridiculous trivia, check out these 40 Facts so Funny They’re Hard to Believe.

Children trick or treating

8
No Trick-or-Treating Outside Designated Hours — Delaware

Trick-or-treating must take place only between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 PM in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The law doesn’t apply on Sundays. In fact, if Halloween falls on a Sunday, children can only go trick-or-treating the day before.

90s slang no one uses

9
Dwarf-Tossing Is Prohibited — Florida

Dwarf-tossing caught on in southern Florida in the ’80s, so a law was passed that makes participating in or permitting any kind of dwarf-tossing punishable by a fine of $1,000.

10
Stays on Boats Have to Be Short — Georgia

If you want to live on a boat in Georgia, you’re going to have a real bad time. Stays on boats are limited to 90 days, after which you must apply for an extension from the Commissioner of Natural Resources.

save 40 percent of your paycheck

11
No Putting Coins in Your Ears — Hawaii

You should probably invest in a piggy bank if you’re considering moving to Hawaii. Putting change in your ears is prohibited in the state.

Woman Eating Steak

12
Cannibalism Is Not Okay — Idaho

Cannibalism is specifically banned in Idaho and is punishable by up to 14 years in jail. However, if you ingest “the flesh or blood of a human being” when it’s the only obvious way to survive a life or death situation, that’s totally okay, legally.

Napping asleep

13
Don’t Sleep in a Cheese Shop — Illinois

It’s written in the Illinois Sanitary Food Preparation Act that you can’t take a nap in a cheese factory, bake shop, confectionery, or creamery, so you’ll have to find someplace else to catch some Z’s.

14
No Shooting Fish — Indiana

You might not have to use a fishing pole if you want to catch fish in Indiana, but you aren’t legally allowed to use your bare hands or guns, either. So much for shooting fish in a barrel.

15
Butter Has to Be Butter — Iowa

In Iowa, butter better be butter. It is against the law for imitation butter to call itself butter. Imitation butter also can’t have the image of any type of cow on the packaging, along with the words “butter,” “creamery,” or “dairy.”

Bunnies

16
Rabbits Can’t Be Shot From a Mule — Kansas

If you decide to ride a mule while you’re out hunting rabbits in Kansas, be sure to hop off before you fire your gun at one. It’s against the law to shoot at a rabbit while you’re sitting on a mule in this state.

Two men in silhouette stand with their backs to each other, preparing to duel

17
No Duelists in Office — Kentucky

In Kentucky, legislators, lawyers, and public officers must all take an oath swearing that they’ve never engaged in a duel with deadly weapons. Of course, this was a much more relevant law when it entered the books in 1849.

Man delivering a pizza to a woman

18
No Surprise Deliveries — Louisiana

It’s against the law to send somebody goods or services if they’re not expecting them. This is great for keeping people from sending you packages of glitter, but also means you technically can’t send your bud a surprise pizza just to show you care.

Dried navy beans

19
Beano Assistance Is Allowed — Maine

Before Bingo, there was Beano, which you might have played in elementary school and involves putting beans over squares on a card instead of using a marker. And there are laws on the books in Maine about Beano. Specifically, if a Beano player goes to the bathroom, it is legal for the Beano caller or their assistant to play that person’s card while they’re away from the game.

Man in car

20
No Swearing While Driving — Maryland

In Maryland, it doesn’t matter how bad traffic is on the Beltway, swearing is illegal regardless. If you’re on or near a street, sidewalk, or highway where a person passing by might hear you, profanity is prohibited.

higher energy person

21
Dancing to the Anthem Is Prohibited — Massachusetts

Don’t even think about busting a move to the Star Spangled Banner in the state of Massachusetts. It’s been against the law to dance to the anthem since 1917, although the First Amendment probably makes that law more of a gesture than something legally enforceable.

painting sparrows weirdest laws in every state

22
Sparrows Cannot Be Sold as Parakeets

Thinking of painting a sparrow to pass it off as a parakeet in Michigan? Think again. Doing so in the town of Harper Woods will land you in jail.

Turkey up close.

23
Turkey Scrambles Are Banned — Minnesota

Turkey scrambles—contests where turkeys or chickens are thrown into the air so that people can try to catch them—are outlawed in the state of Minnesota. Understandably, they’re considered cruel.

millennial eating burger

24
No Portion Sizes — Mississippi

A law was passed in Mississippi to prevent any laws limiting portion sizes in any way from being enacted as a way of thumbing his nose at Michael Bloomberg, who passed an ordinance on soda while he was mayor of New York City.

Bull

25
Stray Bulls Can Be Castrated — Missouri

If a stray bull or ram runs wild for more than three days, anyone can castrate the animal without liability. The only hangup is that three town residents have to attest in writing that the animal was loose, and the owner has to not come round up the animal after being given notice. But other than that, castrate away.

secretly hilarious things

26
The Show Literally Must Go On — Montana

If you start performing on stage in Montana, you are legally required to finish that performance. So don’t go onstage unless you really want to be there.

bachelors grove cemetery illinois

27
Pioneer Cemeteries Are for Everyone — Nebraska

If you own land that happens to include a pioneer cemetery, you have to let pedestrians in to visit the cemetery, but only on Memorial Day and from November 1 to March 1.

smart word

28
Shoe Size Must Be Determined the Old-Fashioned Way — Nevada

In Nevada, it’s against the law to use x-rays to figure out what size shoes to wear. There was actually a novel device that did exactly this called a Pedoscope that was popular until the ’70s, when people figured out they shouldn’t be blasting x-rays at their unprotected feet.

Closeup of the beach at dusk

29
Seaweed Farming During Daylight Only — New Hampshire

It’s hard to imagine the circumstances that prompted lawmakers to pass this legislation, but it is against the law to collect seaweed from the beach at night in New Hampshire.

Switching up underwear Never Buy

30
Showing Your Butt — New Mexico

In New Mexico, it is actually legal to show your butt. Indecent exposure is restricted to the “primary genital” area. Just something to consider if you want to go on vacation but hate wearing pants.

couple running

31
Running in Body Armor — New Jersey

Wearing body armor while committing a crime in New Jersey is a crime in and of itself. And if you try to run away from the crime you committed while wearing body armor, the crime of wearing body armor makes it worse.

Female and male lion

32
No Selfies with Lions — New York

Because we live in a world where people think it’s a good idea to take selfies with tigers, lions, and other dangerous big cats capable of killing humans, the state of New York passed a law making it illegal to have your picture taken with a big cat unless there’s a permanent physical barrier between you and the cat—unless it’s a clouded leopard, jaguar, or mountain lion.

Old bingo card

33
Bingo Hours Are Restricted — North Carolina

It’s against the law to host more than 10 hours of bingo a week in North Carolina. An organization can only host two sessions per week, and those sessions can’t last longer than five hours. The exception is bingo at a fair or exhibition.

weird laws

34
You Need a License to Kill … Pigeons — North Dakota

If you’re in North Dakota, and you’ve got a strong hankering to kill some pigeons, you’re going to need to get a permit from the health department first.

Stacks of toilet paper

35
Adequate TP Is a Legal Necessity — Ohio

In Ohio, an adequate supply of toilet paper must be provided in underground coal mines by the mine operator.

Skunk

36
Skunk Glue Is Banned — Oklahoma

If you’re in Oklahoma, don’t you dare make glue out of skunks unless you want the law coming after you.

Litter Illegal

37
Keep Your Waste to Yourself — Oregon

It’s against the law to throw excrement from a moving car in the state of Oregon. It’s also against the law to leave a bottle of urine on the side of the road.

38
Don’t Catch a Fish With Your Mouth — Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it’s against the law to catch a fish with your mouth, which makes Indiana’s law about catching fish with your hands seem perfectly sane and normal.

Auction

39
Auctioneer Impersonations Are Forbidden — Rhode Island

If you’re in Rhode Island, you don’t need to worry about whether or not you’re dealing with a legitimate auctioneer, because it’s against the law to pretend to be one. It’s also against the law to pretend to be a fence-viewer, whatever that is.

Marriage Proposal

40
False Proposals Are Prohibited — South Carolina

In South Carolina, it’s a misdemeanor for a male over the age of 16 to falsely promise to marry a woman to seduce a her.

Marriage Proposal by Water

41
Marriage to a Step-Child Is Void — South Dakota

Any marriage between a step-parent and their step-child is considered void from the beginning of the marriage in the state of South Dakota.

Netflix, bad bosses, Everyday Energy Killers

42
No Netflix Sharing — Tennessee

In Tennessee, it’s against the law to use somebody else’s Netflix account, which is probably important to note if you’re taking a bus across the state.

Texas Law Makers Civic Studies

43
Acknowledge the “Supreme Being” — Texas

If a lawmaker doesn’t acknowledge the existence of a “Supreme Being,” they might have to take religious tests to hold office.

Police officer on a bike

44
No Biking Without Hands — Utah

It’s against the law in Utah to ride a bike using no hands, so you’ll have to come up with some other trick to impress your friends.

words that reveal age

45
Clotheslines Can’t Be Banned — Vermont

In Vermont, clotheslines were determined to be “energy devices based on renewable resources,” which means they’re included in legislation that prevents such devices from being banned.

Ox in a field

46
Mess With an Ox at Your Own Peril — Virginia

If you want to participate in an “ox activity” in Virginia, you get whatever’s coming to you. The ox activity sponsor or ox professional can’t be held liable for what happens when you’re messing with the ox.

bigfoot sighting, celebrities not like us

47
No Bigfoot Poaching — Washington

It’s illegal to hunt or kill a Sasquatch in the state of Washington, since, if real, they must be a very endangered species.

Ferret face

48
Ferrets Can’t Be Used for Hunting — West Virginia

It’s fine to use dogs for hunting in West Virginia, but if you use a ferret for hunting, you’ve crossed the line into outlaw territory and could face at least 10 days in jail.

cheese plate calcium

49
Cheese Must Be Pleasing — Wisconsin

Certain state-certified cheeses in Wisconsin, like Muenster and curds, must have a “highly pleasing” taste to receive a AA grade. A grade B cheese is only “fairly pleasing.”

Pile of scrap metal

50
Choose Your Junk Man Wisely — Wyoming

It’s against the law in Wyoming to buy scrap metal, rubber, rags, or paper from somebody who’s intoxicated. And if you think that’s weird, check out The 47 Weirdest Laws From Around the World.

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