King George County Researching Marijuana Sales Ban

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Marijuana sales won’t be legal in Virginia until 2024, according to legalization bills passed by the General Assembly in 2021. But King George County is already moving to potentially ban sales. At its April 27 meeting, the Board of Supervisors requested County Attorney Matt Britton to research how to implement such a ban.

Chairman Ann Cupka said she had already consulted with Sheriff Chris Giles.

“I am requesting consensus of the board to direct the county attorney to investigate and report back at a future meeting the steps necessary to prohibit retail sales of marijuana in our community pursuant to House Bill 2312,” Cupka said, according to minutes of the meeting.

The BOS approved the request, and Cupka asked Britton to provide a recommendation to the BOS later in the year.

HB 2312 allows localities to determine hours, zoning, and land use rules, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Localities can also choose to hold a referendum to ban marijuana retail stores — if a majority vote in favor of the ban, the ban will take effect January 1 of the year following the referendum, according to bill text (Page 138).

However, the bill states that localities can’t ban possession, cultivation, manufacture, transportation, use, or advertising. Localities can pass ordinances banning consumption or offering to others in public, as well as banning possession or consumption on school grounds, although the new legislation already bans those activities.

The legislation is similar to legislation passed in 2019 making all Virginia localities automatically ‘wet,’ allowing alcohol sales unless a local referendum had been held to see if voters wanted to ban sales.

None of the county supervisors responded to a request for comment by deadline.

Cupka and Giles are concerned that marijuana sales could cause an increased in crime rates and impaired driving according to The Free Lance-Star, which first reported the story.

“I think it will burden our Sheriff’s Office and negatively impact our community as a whole,” Cupka said, according to The Free Lance-Star.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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