State v. Grinstead

In State v. Grinstead, 157 W.Va. 1001, 206 S.E.2d 912 (1974), the Court considered a challenge to West Virginia Code 16-8B-1, which proscribes the possession or sale of dangerous drugs, as an unlawful delegation of law-making authority to the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy. The central issue in Grinstead was a provision in West Virginia Code 16-8B-1(d) which authorized the Pharmacy Board to expand a list of proscribed drugs by automatically adding substances designated as dangerous or habit-forming in accordance with existing or future federal drug regulations. The Court ultimately determined that the Legislature could not empower the Board of Pharmacy to engraft future declarations of unlawful conduct by other bodies onto the present statute because under Article VI, Section 1 of the West Virginia Constitution a statute is "invalid as incomplete if it is left to a body other than the Legislature to determine without benefit of legislative standards what shall and shall not be an infringement of the law." 157 W.Va. at 1010, 206 S.E.2d at 918. The Court thereafter said that it is an unlawful delegation of legislative power for the Legislature to delegate "so loosely as to permit another legislative body or an executive board or agency to redefine and expand . . . criminal acts in futuro and without limitation." Id. at 1011, 206 S.E.2d at 919. It is important to note that in Grinstead, the remaining subsections of West Virginia Code 16-8B-1 were found to be constitutionally sound because they contained "adequate standards and limitations to protect the delegation of legislative prerogatives." Id.