West Virginia Lawmakers Contemplate Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

West Virginia lawmakers are once again considering adult-use cannabis legalization after a bill was introduced Jan. 17 in the House of Delegates to allow cannabis production, sale and consumption for adults 21 and older.

Del. Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia, introduced House Bill 4873, which is co-sponsored by Dels. Hollis Lewis, D-Kanawha, Joey Garcia, D-Marion, Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, John Williams, D-Monongalia, and Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kayla Young, D-Kanawha.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources, where an adult-use legalization bill stalled last year, according to a local WBOY report.

 Similar bills in past years have also failed to gain traction in Charleston.

If passed, H.B. 4873 would allow licensed businesses to produce and sell cannabis products for the adult-use market. Counties would be permitted to hold local elections on whether cannabis manufacturing and retail would be allowed within their jurisdictions.

The legislation would levy a 15% excise tax on cannabis sales, and the tax revenue generated would go to a “Cannabis Transfer Tax Fund,” which would then distribute funds to the Public Employees Insurance Agency Stability Fund, the Fight Substance Abuse Fund, the Division of Justice and Community Services and the state’s general fund.

H.B. 4873 also calls for a 6% local sales tax, with 50% of the tax revenue generated going to the county where the sales took place and the other 50% going to municipalities that host cannabis businesses.

The proceeds from license fees and administrative penalties would be allocated to the Department of Health and Human Resources, according to the bill.

If the Health and Human Resources Committee approves H.B. 4873, the legislation will advance to the Judiciary Committee and then the Finance Committee.


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