Marijuana News

West Virginia's Renewed Push to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

West Virginia's Renewed Push to Legalize Recreational Marijuana


In the heart of Appalachia, a renewed push to legalize recreational marijuana is taking place. Last week, a bill was introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates that would legalize the production, sales, and adult recreational consumption of marijuana. This comes on the heels of a similar bill introduced during the 2023 Legislative Session, which unfortunately did not make it out of the House Health and Human Resources Committee.

The new House Bill 4873 proposes to legalize the consumption of marijuana for adults aged 21 and above, with the caveat that driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal. The bill also outlines a framework for the sale of marijuana products, which would be regulated and sold by licensed businesses.

This bill includes provisions for county commissions to conduct a county option election to determine whether the manufacture and sale of marijuana to persons aged 21 and older would be allowed in their respective counties. In addition, the bill proposes a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales.

The bill also includes a local 6% sales tax, with 50% of the revenue going to the county and 50% to municipalities. This renewed push for recreational marijuana legalization comes on the heels of neighboring Ohio becoming the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana consumption for adults aged 21 and above during the November 2023 elections.

The bill, introduced by Del. Evan Hansen (D – Monongalia, 079) and co-sponsored by several other delegates, is currently in the Health and Human Resources Committee and will then need to go through the Judiciary Committee, followed by the Finance Committee.

West Virginia's renewed push for recreational marijuana legalization could bring about significant changes in the state's economy, public health, and criminal justice system. If the bill passes, it could potentially create new jobs and generate substantial tax revenue, while also reducing the burden on the criminal justice system by decriminalizing marijuana-related offenses. However, the bill's success is contingent upon its ability to garner support from lawmakers and the public alike.


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