Marijuana; decriminalization of simple possession. (HB1063)

Introduced By

Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth) with support from co-patrons Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Dale City), Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church), and Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Marijuana; decriminalization of simple marijuana possession. Decriminalizes marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $250 for a first violation and $1,000 for a second or subsequent violation. Under current law, a first offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one-half ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use and provides that the existing suspended sentence and substance abuse screening provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a minor. The bill decreases the penalty for distribution or possession with intent to sell more than one-half but not more than five pounds of marijuana from a Class 5 felony to a Class 6 felony. Amends § 16.1-260, § 18.2-248.1, § 18.2-250.1, § 18.2-251, § 18.2-252, § 18.2-259.1, § 18.2-287.2, § 18.2-460, § 19.2-386.22, § 46.2-390.1, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »


01/10/2018: Awaiting a Vote in the Courts of Justice Committee


  • 01/10/2018 Committee
  • 01/10/2018 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18100370D
  • 01/10/2018 Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice


John Smith writes:

Fully support. Here is the problem, an adult with epilepsy gets arrested for simple possession of marijuana on their property even though doctors have told him it would help with treating his epilepsy. Doctors in Virginia will not put that in writing today but will say it. Marijuana has no where near the side effects of common epilepsy medication i.e. Keppra and Depakote. CBD oils have bad side effects like low blood pressure and severe dizziness.

So after getting arrested on his property for simple possession and showing the court a letter from his neurologist that states he has epilepsy. He gets convicted and sent to drug treatment and testing. Well he shows up positive for marijuana on a drug test and gets placed in jail for violation of VASAP and good behavior. While in jail he loses his job.

Tim Robinson writes:

Agree with John. Two polls in Virginia found that anywhere from 86-94% of Virginia voters support legalized marijuana. It is clear that support for this issue exists statewide, it is time that lawmakers listen to the will of the people. At a meeting on Tuesday evening the Norfolk City Council, Virginia’s second-largest city, is officially calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana.

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