Marijuana; definitions, possession and consumption, civil penalties, report. (SB2)

Introduced By

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patron Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg)


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. Also, the bill states that the procedure for appeal and trial of any violation of simple possession of marijuana shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors. The bill also provides that if requested by either party on appeal to the circuit court, trial by jury shall be provided and the Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. 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 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. Also, the bill allows a person charged with a civil offense who is acquitted, a nolle prosequi is taken, or the charge is otherwise dismissed to file a petition requesting expungement of the police records and court records related to the charge. 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 30, 2020. This bill incorporates SB 815 and is identical to HB 972. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


11/18/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
11/18/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20100705D
11/18/2019Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
01/08/2020Moved from Courts of Justice to Judiciary due to a change of the committee name
01/16/2020Assigned Juciciary sub: Criminal Law
01/16/2020Assigned Judiciary sub: Criminal Law
01/28/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB2)
01/29/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (10-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
01/29/2020Incorporates SB815 (Morrissey)
01/29/2020Committee substitute printed 20106511D-S1
01/29/2020Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
02/06/2020Reported from Finance and Appropriations (12-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/10/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (36-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Read second time
02/11/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/11/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20106511D-S1
02/11/2020Reading of amendment waived
02/11/2020Amendment by Senator Surovell rejected
02/11/2020Amendment by Senator Ebbin agreed to
02/11/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute with amendment SB2ES1
02/11/2020Printed as engrossed 20106511D-ES1
02/11/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Passed Senate (27-Y 13-N) (see vote tally)
02/14/2020Placed on Calendar
02/14/2020Read first time
02/14/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/14/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB2ES1)
02/19/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/19/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (12-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2020Committee substitute printed 20108640D-H1
02/19/2020Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/21/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/21/2020Reported from Appropriations with substitute (16-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/21/2020Committee substitute printed 20108848D-H2
02/25/2020Read second time
02/25/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB2H2)
02/26/2020Read third time
02/26/2020Passed by temporarily
02/26/2020Committee on Courts of Justice substitute rejected 20108640D-H1
02/26/2020Committee on Appropriations substitute agreed to 20108848D-H2
02/26/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB2H2
02/26/2020Passed House with substitute (63-Y 35-N)
02/26/2020VOTE: Passage (63-Y 35-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020House substitute rejected by Senate (1-Y 38-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020House insisted on substitute
02/26/2020House requested conference committee
02/26/2020Senate acceded to request (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/27/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
02/27/2020Senators: Ebbin, Morrissey, Stanley
02/27/2020Conferees appointed by House
02/27/2020Delegates: Herring, Heretick, Collins
03/05/2020Conference substitute printed 20109521D-S2
03/05/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/05/2020First Conference substitute printed 20109521D-S2
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (58-Y 38-N)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption (58-Y 38-N) (see vote tally)
03/05/2020Reconsideration of conference report agreed to by House
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (61-Y 37-N)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption #2 (61-Y 37-N) (see vote tally)
03/06/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB2S2)
03/07/2020Conference report rejected by Senate (2-Y 38-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Senate requested second conference committee (26-Y 14-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020House acceded to request for second conference committee
03/07/2020Second conferees appointed by House
03/07/2020Delegates: Herring, Heretick, Collins
03/07/2020Second conferees appointed by Senate
03/07/2020Senators: Ebbin, Morrissey, Stanley
03/07/2020Second Conference substitute printed 20109965D-S3
03/08/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (27-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
03/08/2020Conference report agreed to by House (57-Y 33-N)
03/08/2020VOTE: Adoption (57-Y 33-N) (see vote tally)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB2ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB2ER)
03/20/2020Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 20, 2020
03/20/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
04/11/2020Governor's recommendation received by Senate
04/22/2020Senate concurred in Governor's recommendations #'s 1-5, 7-16 (26-Y 14-N) (see vote tally)
04/22/2020Communicated to Governor
04/22/2020VOTE: (56-Y 37-N)
04/22/2020Senate rejected Governor's recommendation #6 (6-Y 34-N) (see vote tally)
04/22/2020Senate rejected Governor's recommendation #17 (5-Y 35-N) (see vote tally)
04/22/2020Passed by temporarily
04/22/2020House concurred in Governor's recommendation #'s 1-5 and 7-16 (56-Y 37-N)
04/22/2020Senate concurred in Governor's recommendation's #'s 1-5 and 7-16 (26-Y 14-N) (see vote tally)
04/22/2020G Governor's recommendation adopted in-part
04/22/2020Reenrolled bill text (SB2ER2)
04/22/2020Signed by President as reenrolled
04/22/2020Signed by Speaker as reenrolled
04/29/2020Reenrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on April 29, 2020
04/29/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., May 22, 2020
05/01/2020VOTE: (56-Y 37-N)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 8 clips in all, totaling 11 minutes.


Melinda Scott writes:

It would be good to expand this Bill to decriminalize marijuana completely for recreational use within responsible behavior limits. For Virginians who prefer NDs to MDs, they do not have a path to access medical marijuana prescriptions, since NDs do not have legal status yet in Virginia. Virginians should be allowed under their philosophical and religious beliefs the right to use marijuana recreationally in order to regulate it personally for health purposes. Allowing the recreational use of marijuana could bring it to market in rural areas and boost Virginia's rural economy. Recreational use is working well in other states

Patrick writes:

This seems like such a simple bill to approve. I do not know why it is taking so long to understand that Marijuana was outlawed for the wrong reasons and from a campaign of disinformation. If you enjoy your freedoms then you should vote that the government doesn't have the right to tell you how you can't enjoy your time relaxing at home. Either with alcohol or marijuana. It should be fully legal and taxed, so that state could get some money instead of the black market and gangs.

Susan writes:

Legalize and then tax it. It’s time.

Kermit Zalynski writes:

As a government employee, I am prohibited from recreational use of marijuana. As a patriot, I believe that others should be allowed to use marijuana at their cognizance. I support the freedoms of all.

Lisa Hairston writes:

I have lived in Virginia for 40 years. I was taught to be proud of the leaders we have produced. Today, I see so few
of these leaders progressively moving us forward the 21st century, and as a Nation.
I am writing as a citizen, and legal voter in Virginia, to endorse Melinda Scott's Bill. I look forward to having the freedom to choose what plants I grow, buy, borrow, and how I use them. Please get this done!
Thank You,
Lisa Hairston

MICHAEL writes:

A step in the right direction.

Scott writes:

A responsible adult is a responsible adult no matter what the substance, liquid, vehicle they're driving, taxes paid, etc.

Now, in the current pandemic with so many different focuses for law enforcement as well as risk of contamination and spread within the jail system, it makes sense to me to speed up this process, approval, etc.

Let's focus on more important criminal activities, release those offenders with extremely minor charges, while also limiting the spread of the disease and freeing up taxpayer dollars by not having to support inmates that should not be imprisoned.

Decriminalization really isn't enough. Like the lottery, this is also another revenue opportunity where the additional taxes can be used to improve our beautiful state.