Top 10 Things That Are Only Illegal in America

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Top 10 Things That Are Only Illegal in America

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
It doesn't pay to commit these odds crimes in America. For this list, we'll be looking at items and activities that are surprisingly taboo in parts of the U.S., but not the rest of the world. Our countdown includes Sharing Your Netflix Password, Snowball Fights, Drunk Surfing, and more!
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Top 10 Things That Are Only Illegal in America


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things That Are Only Illegal in America.

For this list, we’ll be looking at items and activities that are surprisingly taboo in parts of the U.S., but not the rest of the world.

What’s the most ridiculous law you’ve ever heard? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Honking Your Horn Around a Sandwich Shop After 9:00 P.M.


Well, this is an oddly specific law, but that’s probably why it’s limited to Little Rock, Arkansas. The city’s Code of Ordinances reads, “No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m.” We guess if you’re doing curbside pickup for a late dinner, the noise might disturb local residents getting ready for bed. For such a specific rule, though, there’s a lot of gray area. If an establishment exclusively sells paninis or burgers, does that constitute a sandwich shop? Are the police on standby around all sandwich shops after 9:00 to make sure the law is enforced? If not, what’s stopping hoodlums from doing a honk and dash?


#9: Sharing Your Netflix Password


Going forward, we wouldn’t be surprised if streaming giants like Netflix cracked down on password sharing worldwide. As of now, Netflix’s Terms of Use says that account owners shouldn’t reveal their passwords to those outside of their households. That’s more a guideline, however. If you do share your password, the user agreement doesn’t enable Netflix to pursue legal action against you. Except for maybe in Tennessee. In 2011, the Tennessee login law was passed, making it illegal to share your passwords to services like Netflix. This was mainly about preventing people from selling passwords for a profit. Still, if you live in Tennesse and your freeloading Uncle Mike wants to binge “Sex Education,” you can tell him that you legally can’t give out your password.


#8: Pickles That Don’t Bounce


It’s common knowledge that pickles are crunchy and sour, but did you know that they’re supposed to bounce? According to a 1948 article, pickle packers Sidney Sparer and Moses Dexler were arrested for selling pickles “unfit for human consumption.” What made the vinegary treats “unfit?” Because Connecticut doesn’t consider a pickle a pickle unless it bounces when dropped from at least one foot. Since their pickles didn’t meet Connecticut’s criteria, Sparer and Dexler were slapped with a $500 fine, which would be over $1,000 today. The pickles were also disposed of. While it sounds bizarre, their pickles did splat when dropped, indicating that they weren’t very fresh. Unless you’re in Connecticut, you probably don’t need to worry about getting into this particular pickle.


#7: Waking a Sleeping Bear to Take a Picture With It


So, you stumbled upon a sleeping bear in the Alaskan wilderness. Do you A) Remain calm and keep your distance, B) Slowly turn around and quietly move to a safe area, C) Whip out your smartphone and get in close for a selfie with the beast? If you answered A or B, congratulations! You’re a responsible, law-abiding citizen, not to mention alive. If you answered C, you’re not only inclined to get mauled, but you just broke one of Alaska’s weirdest - yet still worthwhile - laws. We can’t fathom why anyone would wake a sleeping bear, especially for a photo op. If enough people have this instinct to create a law, though, perhaps humans are more dangerous than bears.


#6: Haggis


When people think of traditional Scottish dishes, Haggis often comes to mind. However, you don’t see many people eating this pudding in the U.S. Some Americans might be put off by the ingredients, which include a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. Hey, if you think that sounds gross, don’t ask what hotdogs are made of. The sheep’s lungs are the main reason why haggis isn’t commonly on American menus. Since 1971, it’s been illegal to transport sheep lungs - and therefore haggis - from the U.K. to the U.S. As of 1989, U.K. lamb and beef can’t be transferred either. While Americans can make their own Haggis, you might have better luck smuggling Cuban cigars into the country than a plate of Haggis.


#5: Snowball Fights


If it snows where you hail from, you’re lucky enough to partake in activities like sledding, building a snowman, and snowball fights. Well, that last one doesn’t necessarily apply to people in Colorado. Several towns in the Centennial State have banned public snowball fights. In Aspen, the law states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to throw any stone, snowball or other missile.” Yeah, apparently snowballs are a type of missile. Severance, Colorado lifted their snowball fight ban, and even in Aspen, the police are unlikely to show up if a couple of kids have a lighthearted snowball fight in their backyard. If somebody socks you with a snowball on the way to school, though, you and your lawyer just might have a case.


#4: Eating Fried Chicken With a Fork


We know that people can get passionate when it comes to food, although some places might take things a bit too far. In Louisiana, you could face up to 10 years in the slammer if you steal over $1,500 worth of crawfish. Stealing is wrong, but a decade for freshwater crustaceans? Even more curious, Gainesville, Georgia introduced a law in 1961 forbidding people from eating fried chicken with a fork… or anything else that isn’t their hands. While this was more of a publicity stunt than anything else, it’s technically a law. So, when 91-year-old Ginny Dietrick was caught using a fork to eat her “culinary delicacy,” the police chief took action. Don’t worry, it was a prank, but the mayor still pardoned her.


#3: Drunk Surfing


It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drink and drive, but what about surfing under the influence? That’s another bad idea, but Iowa stands out as one of the few places that explicitly forbids inebriated surfing. The law states, “A person shall not operate any vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard or similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.” The same goes for surfing with narcotics and other illegal substances. While the law makes sense, we’re kind of surprised that Iowa of all places is the state that cracks down on drunk surfing. We mean, people visit for the lakes, but not exactly for the killer waves. The law could probably benefit other places in and outside of the U.S.


#2: Children’s Books Printed Before 1985


Searching through your garage, you might find a box of books from your childhood or even your parents’ youth. Although you’re sure to be overcome with nostalgia, you may want to check how many of those books were printed prior to 1985. Why? Because lead was commonly used in ink before then. Since ink can be dangerous when ingested, The Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer allows books printed before 1985 to be sold, traded, or donated. That is unless they undergo a safety test proving that they don’t have a lethal amount of lead. While this law only applies to the U.S., everyone is likely better off keeping their old books somewhere safe. You can’t put a price on the sentimental value.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Ice Bucket Challenge
Most People Could Take Part, But Not U.S. Diplomats


Exploding Golf Balls
Don’t Expect to See Them on Any Massachusetts Courses… Also, Those Are Real?


Drinking Blood
We Imagine Most Places Frown Upon This, But Louisiana Has a Law Against It



#1: Killing Bigfoot


The Bigfoot name can be traced back to at least 1958. Over 60 years later, there’s no conclusive evidence that this mysterious creature exists or has ever existed. If Bigfoot is more than just a legend, though, it would be illegal to hunt him in Skamania County, Washington. In 1969, only a couple of years after the infamous Patterson–Gimlin film surfaced, the county introduced a law declaring the “slaying of Bigfoot to be a felony and punishable by 5 years in prison.” The law was altered in 1984, reducing the punishment to a one-year sentence and/or a $1,000 fine. It admittedly sounds silly for something that might not even be real, but we shouldn’t take any chances when it comes to endangered species.
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