Marijuana; decriminalizes simple possession thereof, civil penalty. (HB1134)

Introduced By

Del. Harvey Morgan (R-Gloucester)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Decriminalization of possession of marijuana.  Decriminalizes simple marijuana possession. The bill does not make marijuana possession legal but creates a civil penalty of $500 for simple possession of marijuana, a penalty equal to the current criminal fine for simple marijuana possession. The bill also raises the quantities necessary for punishment of possession with intent to distribute so as not to punish amounts that may be possessed for personal use. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who grows no more than five marijuana plants grows marijuana for personal use and not for distribution, an offense punishable by the $500 civil penalty. The civil penalties collected are payable to the Literary Fund. The bill removes the two-year mandatory sentence for distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana and the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for distribution of more than one ounce of marijuana. The bill requires forfeiture of the driver's license of any minor found to have committed the violation of possession of marijuana. The bill reduces the penalty for possession of marijuana by a prisoner from a Class 5 felony to a Class 6 felony, the same punishment as is currently imposed for possession of a firearm or a knife by a prisoner or for setting off an explosive device in a prison. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/13/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10100096D
01/13/2010Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/19/2010Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/27/2010Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/16/2010Left in Courts of Justice


robert legge writes:

Common sense legislation. But of course, legislators will flee from this one.

Kenneth Ehrenthal writes:

Unfortunately the use of marijuana in ones own home
is no more lethal or criminal than a good bottle of wine. The overuse of any product is bad. I wonder how many auto accidents are caused by marijuana users against the DUI's and the cell phones.

Jack Turner writes:

I wholeheartedly support the decriminalization of marijuana. The concept of “legalization” is unnecessary. If something is not criminal, it does not need the specific imprimatur of being declared “legal”.

That said, I do not use marijuana, but I would not participate in condemning a wholly natural product that has not been forbidden for most of recorded history. It does have its downside, but it's no worse than any other form of escapism, and it is a whole lot better than most.

Please pursue your efforts at allowing adults in Virginia to use marijuana in any way they deem appropriate without threat of law enforcement action . Please note that by doing so, if you are successful, you will be responsible for saving the Commonwealth untold millions of dollars in unnecessary law enforcement expenses, in large savings by the Department of Corrections, and in steering youthful users away from the current criminal element that provides marijuana.

We must stop using the power of government to effectuate the whims of the few.

joshua landrum writes:

It is time to end this un just treatmeant of millions of good law abiding citizens. I one of which who knows what its like to be incarcerated over simple possession and to be locked away with an individual who was in jail for 27 years, for what murder, rape who knows but a real criminal nontheless yet this is where the government felt i belonged after finding .2 of a gram of mariijuana in my possession. This bill is not for public acceptance of marijuana but for justified treatment.

Roy B. Scherer writes:

House Courts hears this bill WEDNESDAY!

E writes:

@ Jack Turner

The problem with decriminalization is that it does not get rid of the black market. We are in the state we are now with gangs because you must be a criminal to sell drugs, just as it was during alcohol prohibition. It's also much more profitable than it should be, due to the added risks involved in selling it. If marijuana was legal, the sale (and excessive profits) of it would be taken out of the criminal world.

Mark Blacknell writes:

I hope that folks will get out and be very public about their support of this bill. It's not got a tax bill's chance in Richmond of passing, but it's important that practical ideas like this become part of the mainstream conversation in the legislature.

Joe S writes:

The thing is the government isn't allowing more research to be done. Despite all of the research that was done in the 1970s and proven safe which Nixon through out. Oh yes there were studies.’t-there-more-medical-marijuana-research-because-the-feds-won’t-allow-it-that’s-why/ today. If Americas Doctors have no problem perscribing this, a substance that is safer than advil, why is it such an uphill battle. still...

robert legge writes:

thanks Josh, for those comments. People need to hear that kind of story over and over. Jack- I don't think it is practical to go all the way to legality in one swell foop. This has to be done incrementally. It'll happen. But it is going to take a little while yet. VA isn't well known for leading the way on such issues.

l lydia writes:

It's about time! Thank you for your courage, Delegate Morgan.

Eric writes:

I am trying to find out who is on the subcomittee that tabled the bill. How can I find that? I want to know who and why.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Eric, we don't have a decent way of doing that on Richmond Sunlight (honestly, I find daunting the prospect of updating subcommittee membership rosters every January), but I've pulled the information for you. This committee is chaired by Morgan Griffith (R-Salem). Its members are Dave Albo, Ward Armstrong (D-Martinsville), Rob Bell (R-Albemarle), Ben Cline (R-Amherst), Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), Jackson Miller (R-Manassas), Vivian Watts (D-Annandale).

Michael writes:

I am sad that this bill didn't make it very far. It makes me feel marginal and powerless.

bob writes:

it makes no sense for something that causes less harm to you then alcohol and most other drugs to be illegal.........Virginia is retarded