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Law Changes Coming to West Virginia in 2021

Published on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:50 pm in Legal Information.

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As 2021 approaches, you’ll want to stay on top of any law changes in West Virginia—especially if that’s where you live. While law changes can happen at different points in the year, we often look to the beginning of a new year to determine what big changes are coming.

Not only will this knowledge keep you up-to-date on what changes the state is making, but you’ll also know that you’re continuing to abide by any applicable laws. So far, we know there will be changes coming to fishing, college information availability to students, and medical marijuana.

Changes to Fish Regulations

The Natural Resources Commission has approved a number of regulation changes for fishing come 2021—particularly in regard to the catch and release status.

In August 2020, the Commission narrowly approved a measure to remove the catch and release status for black bass on the New River from the I-64 Sandstone Bridge downstream to the Grand View sandbar. In another recommendation, the Commission unanimously voted to establish a 14 to 22-inch slot limit for all black bass in the New River from the Virginia state line to Gauley Bridge, excluding Bluestone Lake from Bluestone Dam upstream to the mouth of Indian Creek.

In addition to those changes, the Natural Resources Section recommended removing the catch and release restriction for trout on Shavers Fork for 0.9 miles in the Stuart Recreation Area. This recommendation as amended by Commissioner Wilson, who made a motion to also remove a 4.3 mile section of the Cranberry River from the confluence of the North and South Forks of Cranberry downstream to the mouth of Dogway Fork from the catch and release restriction as well.

Other approved changes include the following:

  • Dip netting will be allowed all year around.
  • There will be a 30 fish creel limit and 60 fish possession limit for crappie, all species of sunfish, yellow perch, and all other fish not under a current limit.
  • The 12-inch size limit on black bass from Wallback Lake has been removed.
  • There will be a four-fish daily limit with a 15-inch minimum size for all moronidae species. This includes Striped bass, white bass, and hybrid bass on the Kanawha River from the confluence of the New and Gauley River downstream to the Buffalo Bridge.
  • Buffalo Creek in Fayette County is no longer a fly-fishing only designation.
  • All trout in Stephens Lake in Raleigh County are limited to a two-fish daily creel limit.

Students’ Right-to-Know Act

At the beginning of 2020, West Virginia lawmakers unanimously approved the measure referred to at the Students’ Right-to-Know Act. The requirements of the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Essentially, the law requires the state education board to compile an annual report containing the state’s most sought after jobs, entry-level wages, and common degree requirements for those jobs. In addition to that, the education board will need to include figures on the average cost of college, student loan payments, and median wages for degree areas.

To remain in compliance with the code, information collected by the State Board of Education has to be distributed to every public high school in the state for distribution to students by school guidance counselors no later than October 15 of each year.

The measure was sponsored by Republican Sen. Patricia Rucker, who represents Jefferson County and chairs the Senate education committee. The goal is to better prepare high school students for their futures and provide a more accurate and realistic idea of what to expect in regard to debt accumulation from post-secondary education, as well as alternative career paths.

Medical Marijuana Availability

According to Bill Crouch, the State Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary, it will be next year before medical marijuana can be offered to state residents through a state-run program. Current projections make the product available in spring 2021.

In 2017, the Medical Cannabis Act was approved by state lawmakers and allows cannabis to be used for certified medical use by state residents with serious medical conditions. The law allows for 10 grower permits, 10 processor permits, up to 100 dispensary permits, and unlimited lab permits.

As of late September 2020, the state is accepting physician registrations. Doctors have to complete a registration application and complete a four-hour education course online. The registration period for physicians is indefinite.

In response to the delay, Crouch stated the office has worked during the pandemic with the goal of, “providing eligible state residents with the ability to procure quality-tested medical cannabis as soon as possible.”

To learn more about the new law changes coming to West Virginia in 2021 or for information on personal injury law, schedule a meeting with our law firm today.

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