The laws that govern us are there to keep the public at large safe, for the most part. Some are outdated and some are just outright bizarre. We’ve rounded up the top 33 strangest laws around the world that are still on the books at the time of this writing. We don’t recommend trying any of this at home.
Since 1939, adultery has been considered a felony in the state of Michigan. It’s punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. I guess the slogan, “Pure Michigan” has more than one meaning. Either way, best to have a lawyer on retainer if you plan on fooling around in this state.
No fake butter allowed here. It’s a misdemeanor to claim margarine and butter substitutes as actual butter, so don’t even think about it you rebel.
One of the weirdest laws regarding alcohol comes out of America’s final frontier. You can feel free to get inebriated in a bar, you just can’t stay there. Drunks can’t be on the property of any business that sells alcohol. Make sense? We didn’t think so.
If you’re ever visiting the Houses of Parliament in London, be sure your health is in good order. Why, you ask? It turns out that it’s illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. We can’t help but wonder what the punishment for such a crime would be.
No matter how much of a foodie you are, there should be limits. In Illinois, it is illegal to continue eating in a restaurant or other establishment that is on fire. We’d love to hear the story behind this law. It’s got to be good (pun intended).
Here’s a law that proves just how much further we need to go in civil rights. In Greece, the police are allowed to arrest anyone on suspicion of being HIV positive. They take it several steps further by being permitted to force testing, publish the results, and evict HIV positive people from their homes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re living in 2018.
If you’ve got a potty mouth, be careful in Mississippi. Swearing in front of more than on individual in public is punishable by up to 30 days in jail. We’re not sure how long this law has been on the books, but it’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.
Watch out all my vibrator using friends! In Arizona, it’s illegal to possess more than 2 vibrators in your home. We’re not sure if they make exceptions for non-battery operated dildos. What’s up with that, Arizona?
You can buy liquor in Indiana, but you might want to purchase your mixers and chasers somewhere other than the liquor store. Indiana law prohibits the sale of cooled sodas and water. In fact, the law is so specific that it clearly states the lowest temperature allowed for each beverage type. Pretty weird if you ask us.
There are no bad days allowed in Milan, Italy where citizens are required to smile constantly. The only exceptions to this law are hospital visits and funerals. People found scowling or frowning in public are subject to large fines. We wonder if the person writing the citation has to smile the whole time?
In California, Calaveras County hosts an annual Frog Jumping Jubilee. The tradition has been passed down through the generations for the past 80 years. Tourists go head to head with seasoned frog jumpers. After the contest, the law clearly states that no frog who died during the contest may be eaten. We’re not sure what’s weirder, the competition, the law, or the fact that the law is necessary.
You thought the no chewing gum rule in elementary school was bad, just wait until you hear Singapore’s laws. It’s illegal to buy, sell, or chew any non-medical gum in Singapore. Pharmacists must check ID before dispensing medical gum to any patients. First offenders are required to pay $1,000 fine and that price doubles on your second offence. Don’t even get them started on the laws against spitting.
Apparently the separation between church and state doesn’t apply to Texas. In order to run for any public office, a potential candidate must acknowledge the existence of a higher power. If you’re an atheist with political aspirations, you’ll need to get your start outside of the Lone Star State.
An outdated law in Arkansas from the 1800’s is still on the books. The law states that a man can beat his wife once per month without facing legal resource. Come on, Arkansas, I think everyone agrees that this law needs to go.
Idaho put a law on the books in 1990 forbidding acts of cannibalism except in extreme cases where the consumption of human flesh and blood is necessary for survival. We’re not sure why Idaho felt the need to be the only state in the U.S. that has an active anti-cannibalism law.
In Germany, you can expect to pay 80 euros if you run out of gas or get caught walking on the autobahn. It’s dangerous to be stopped or walking along any highway, but particularly one without speed limits like the autobahn.
There will be no pig chasing in Minnesota. It’s outlawed to engage in any contest in which participants attempt to capture a greased pig. The same law also protects our favorite Thanksgiving fowl by preventing turkey catching competitions.
Since 1989, Florida has outlawed dwarf-tossing contests in any location that sells or serves alcohol. Bar owners are cited with $1,000 fines if they are caught hosting such an event in their establishment. The law was up for repeal in 2011, but ultimately stayed on the books.
15. North Carolina
In North Carolina, Bingo is serious business with oddly specific laws. For instance, games can’t last more than five hours, have a pot worth more than $500 or be played more than once within a 2 day period.
Apparently Maryland doesn’t want to fast track the dispensing of condoms. It’s against the law to sell them out of vending machines anywhere in the state. Violations count as a misdemeanor and fines up to $1,000, so stick to the chips and candy when stocking your vending machines.
How many Aussies does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, as long as he or she is a licensed electrician. That’s right folks, it’s illegal to change your own lightbulbs in Australia. You must hire a licensed electrician to do it for you. Violators face steep fines of up to $10. I wonder how much the electricians charge?
12. United States
Since the early days of email, the government has retained the right to retrieve any email within 180 days of it being sent. They can do this without a warrant. The initial law was passed in 1986 and was later added to by the NSA.
11. New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, it’s illegal to collect seaweed after dark. It’s considered a violation of the fish and game commission, so the fines are unclear. Either way, there goes date night!
10. South Dakota
This is probably the coolest law on the books. In South Dakota, farming and agriculture make up a huge portion of their economy. As such, farmers are allowed to go to great lengths to scare away crows, deer, and other crop-destroying vermin. As long as they’re not within 600 feet of homes, schools, or churches, it’s within the law to set off fireworks whenever they see fit.
Apparently the Swedes are a very noise sensitive people. For example, apartment residents cannot flush their toilets or make any unnecessary noise after 10:00 PM.
8. West Virginia
Ferrets are not to be used for hunting in West Virginia. Hunters who kill any prey, whether land dweller or fowl that is brought down with the assistance of a ferret are subject to $500 fines and up to 100 nights in jail. Yikes!
7. Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, women are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle. Yet another example of how far we still have to go in the advancement of human rights across the globe.
It should come as no surprise that Wisconsin takes cheese very seriously. I mean, their football fans wear giant cheese hats. So, it’s not a shock that there is a cheese related law on the books in Dairyland. By law, any Wisconsin labeled cheese must be “highly pleasing.”
Canadian law decrees that every fifth song on the radio be performed by a Canadian national and every fifth television show must be Canadian. Way to promote the local talent and culture, Canada!
Don’t get caught gettin’ it on in Virginia unless you’ve taken wedding vows. It’s illegal for two people to engage in sexual intercourse, regardless of age in Virginia. Kinda weird for a state whose slogan is, “Virginia is for lovers.”
It’s illegal to be overweight in Japan. Men cannot have waists that exceed 31 inches and women can’t exceed 35 inches. Of course, it’s a bit of an oxymoron considering that sumo wrestlers are grossly overweight.
In Oklahoma, you can’t allow a donkey to sleep in your bathtub after 7:00 PM. This is another one we’d love to hear the story behind.
India has a law preventing husbands from using their wives as collateral for debt. They are also prohibited from allowing any debtor access to the wife’s body until the debt is settled. It’s pretty sad they had to make a law to prevent this, but at least it’s there.