Marijuana; possession and consumption, penalty. (HB972)

Introduced By

Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patrons Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Dale City), and Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Possession and consumption of marijuana; penalty. Decriminalizes simple marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $25. Current law imposes a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense, and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill provides that any violation of simple possession of marijuana may be charged by a summons in form the same as the uniform summons for motor vehicle law violations and that no court costs shall be assessed for such violations. The bill also provides that a person's criminal history record information shall not include records of any charges or judgments for such violations and records of such charges or judgements shall not be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. Additionally, the bill provides that the suspended sentence/substance abuse screening provisions and driver's license suspension provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a juvenile. The bill defines "marijuana" to include hashish oil and creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one-half ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use. The bill also (i) makes records relating to the arrest, criminal charge, or conviction of possession of marijuana not open to public inspection and disclosure, except in certain circumstances; (ii) prohibits employers and educational institutions from requiring an applicant for employment or admission to disclose information related to such arrest, criminal charge, or conviction; and (iii) prohibits agencies, officials, and employees of the state and local governments from requiring an applicant for a license, permit, registration, or governmental service to disclose information concerning such arrest, criminal charge, or conviction. Finally, the bill requires the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Finance, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security to convene a work group to study the impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and personal use of marijuana and report the recommendations of the work group to the General Assembly and the Governor by November 1, 2021. This bill incorporates HB 265, HB 301, and HB 481. Read the Bill »


02/26/2020: Passed the Senate


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20103384D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/03/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB972)
02/05/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (13-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/05/2020Committee substitute printed 20107729D-H1
02/05/2020Incorporates HB265 (Heretick)
02/05/2020Incorporates HB481 (Kory)
02/05/2020Incorporates HB301 (Levine)
02/05/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (13-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2020Read first time
02/07/2020Read second time
02/07/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20107729D-H1
02/07/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB972H1
02/10/2020Read third time and passed House (64-Y 34-N)
02/10/2020VOTE: Passage (64-Y 34-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/11/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/14/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB972H1)
02/19/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (10-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2020Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
02/19/2020Committee substitute printed 20108635D-S1
02/25/2020Reported from Finance and Appropriations with substitute (14-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/25/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB972S1)
02/25/2020Committee substitute printed 20108924D-S2
02/26/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N)
02/26/2020Read third time
02/26/2020Committee substitute rejected 20108635D-S1
02/26/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/26/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108924D-S2
02/26/2020Passed by temporarily
02/26/2020VOTE: Adoption (0-Y 93-N)
02/26/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB972S2
02/26/2020Passed Senate with substitute (27-Y 13-N)
02/26/2020Senate substitute rejected by House 20108924D-S2 (0-Y 93-N)
02/26/2020Senate requested conference committee
02/26/2020Senate insisted on amendments (40-Y 0-N)
02/27/2020House acceded to request
02/27/2020Conferees appointed by House
02/27/2020Delegates: Herring, Heretick, Collins
02/27/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
02/27/2020Senators: Ebbin, Morrissey, Stanley


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 2 minutes.

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