Loudoun Supervisors Split on Taxing Marijuana Sales

At least one county supervisor, County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), has voiced opposition to collecting a local tax on marijuana sales when that becomes legal in 2024.

Under a state law passed this year, starting July 1 it will be legal for people 21 and up to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to four marijuana plants per household. Retail sales will become legal in 2024 under the new Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. It also provides for expungement of convictions for marijuana-related offenses and directs support and resources to people and communities that have been disproportionately affected by drug enforcement.

The county board will also have the option to levy a 3% tax on retail marijuana sales on top of any other local taxes that may apply.

Some supervisors and Loudoun’s sheriff have strongly criticized that law, and Randall continued that opposition during the May 4 board meeting.

“Legalizing marijuana is done for one reason and one reasons only, and that’s to get tax money,” Randall said. “I do not believe that we should be getting tax money off of an addictive substance.”

Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) likened it to the local cigarette tax—which supervisors unanimously supported during a meeting earlier this year—while saying he, too, opposes legalizing marijuana. He said it would be akin to outlawing cigarettes in Loudoun while they remain legal a few minutes’ drive away in surrounding counties.

“All that cigarette tax revenue would go somewhere else. The decision has been made,” Turner said. “We are not going to isolate ourselves as somehow morally and ethically saying this is wrong and we’re going to stand against it in Loudoun County and have even one twit’s worth of effect on the moral and community outcome of that stand. What we will do is lose millions and millions of dollars’ worth of revenue.”

Randall disagreed, arguing marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol or nicotine because it affects driving ability but there is no breathalyzer equivalent test for marijuana impairment, and called it a “morally bankrupt decision.”

“If it’s still an addictive substance, we are drug dealers, and I don’t think that’s OK,” Randall said.”

The new state law gives localities the option to hold a voter referendum on whether to prohibit marijuana sales before the end of 2022. Supervisors who might want to prohibit marijuana sales in Loudoun will get one shot at that referendum. Under the law, if the majority votes to allow marijuana sales, there will be no more referenda on the topic. If the voters vote not to allow sales, another referendum may be held up to every four years.

8 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Split on Taxing Marijuana Sales

  • 2021-05-11 at 11:14 am

    The hypocrisy here is jaw-dropping:
    Randall disagreed, arguing marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol or nicotine because it affects driving ability but there is no breathalyzer equivalent test for marijuana impairment, and called it a “morally bankrupt decision.”
    There are clinical markers that can be used by law enforcement to determine impaired driving in regards to THC. Also, cannabis impairment varies tremendously by individual (i.e. the type of strain ingested will impact the level of impairment). So, because you can’t immediately test for a specific “level” of impairment, it shouldn’t be taxed and is somehow more morally offensive than alcohol or nicotine?

    “Legalizing marijuana is done for one reason and one reasons only, and that’s to get tax money,” Randall said. “I do not believe that we should be getting tax money off of an addictive substance.”
    No, you don’t legalize cannabis for the sheer purpose of taxation. You legalize it for a variety of reasons: to provide safe and legal access to a plant that has been shown to provide clinical relief for a variety of medical issues, to end the disparity of criminal prosecution of minority offenders, to end the overcrowding of jails for minor criminal offenses, to end the backlog of criminal cases pending in our court systems, and to allow an individual’s choice to consume it recreationally.

    I hope the BOS chooses not to tax cannabis at the county level. That’s one less penalty for cannabis users who purchase it legally. Even better, start growing your own on July 1st, 2021. Thanks to our VA General Assembly, we are allowed to do that.

    Note to all politicians: you can’t legislate morality and self-righteous indignation from either party is laughable at best.

  • 2021-05-11 at 3:15 pm

    Supervisor Randall,

    I consider myself a supporter of you politically and I’m a fan personally (after hearing you speak in Purcellville last summer)

    Respectfully; you’re wrong about marijuana being more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Both of the afore mentioned substances can kill you. To date no one has ever overdosed from using marijuana. The jury is out as to whether marijuana is addictive, not so much with the other substances. The “gateway drug theory”, which from the sounds of it you’ve heard of is perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented hypothesis still being regularly quoted. I’ll give you this nugget- anyone who refers to marijuana as a gateway drug does not have a grasp of the gateway drug theory.

    As to driving while impaired, we have tests for this sort of thing. Stand on one foot, walk a line ect. If a person can pass these tests with flying colors they are not too impaired to drive, period. The limited research (Schedule 1 drugs are notoriously difficult to get governmental approval to do research) that has been done on driving under the influence of marijuana indicates some loss of motor skills. Test subjects seemed to compensate for their loss of motor skills while driving by (get this novel concept) slowing down.

    If you want to forgo taxing marijuana ok, but don’t do for the reasons you quoted in this article.

  • 2021-05-11 at 3:29 pm

    How about Alcohol?

    Can chair Randall lobby the state to stop taxing alcohol since it’s the most widely used addictive substance?

  • 2021-05-11 at 5:34 pm

    We don’t believe Randall. She wants the tax money.

    Cases have gone through the roof when it comes to driving while high in other states that opened the dooby flood gates years before Va. It is very dangerous to drive under any influence.

    Modern day pot is 5-10x more potent than the pot that was grown in the 70’s and 80’s.

  • 2021-05-11 at 6:12 pm

    There was also a law passed this year by the Governor stating police can’t pull over a car because they smell pot.

    • 2021-05-13 at 2:12 pm

      …… and praise the Lord for that sensible rule now governing traffic stops.

      You see Jones, the PoPo have used the “I smell drugs” excuse to pull people out of their cars and riffle through their personal belongings for about as long as they’ve been participating in the war upon the citizenry, I mean drugs.

      Because there is no way to prove whether or not the olfactory nerve of the Officer of the Peace was accurate we have no way of knowing whether said officer was telling the truth. Now I realize that police officers never lie and the video we’re seeing on our screens didn’t tell the whole story and that poor officer feared for his life, but for now I’m ok that governmental agents can’t pull people out of their cars willy nilly for a fishing expedition.

  • 2021-05-12 at 11:57 am

    Supervisor Randall,
    Allow me to interject some thoughts into your worldview:
    1 in 10 people ‘may’ be more predisposed to developing an addiction to marijuana, as evidenced by research studies. Fair.
    Would it be fair to also say that the negative affects of alcohol & cigarette dependency cause more fatal disease (lung cancer, emphysema, liver failure, kidney failure) and health insurance nightmares than marijuana? The 17.6 million people with alcohol dependency in our country are at a higher risk of diseases than a marijuana user. Except for the polyphenols in red wine, cigarettes and alcohol can be pretty damaging to a person… yet you call the decision to legalize a plant that provides pain relief & nausea relief, and additional benefits to chronic pain patients, those with cancer, brain tumors, migraines, depression, anxiety…a morally bankrupt decision? That confounds me.
    There obviously needs to be a test for driving under the influence of marijuana, and I’m sure that will be invented in time, just like the breathalyzer was. But more dangerous than alcohol? I think not.

  • 2021-05-12 at 7:18 pm

    All Randall did here was prove how uneducated and inexperienced she is in regards to marijuana. Is it 100% amazing with no downsides? Of course not, but is it anything even remotely close to the issue she and others allege? Hell no.
    I have the experience, and I can tell you, this is horsesh*t.
    To top that all off, it’s incredibly stupid to make these points when other substances are not given the same treatment, while being objectively far, far, far more dangerous. Orders of magnitude more dangerous, in fact.

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