Controlled substances; reduces penalty for possession of a Schedule I or II substance, penalties. (HB2303)

Introduced By

Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) with support from co-patron Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Possession of controlled substances; penalties. Reduces the penalty for possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance from a Class 5 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor and the penalty for possession of a Schedule IV or V controlled substance from a Class 2 misdemeanor and a Class 3 misdemeanor, respectively, to a Class 4 misdemeanor. Consequently, the bill removes felony violations of possession of a controlled substance from the definition of barrier crime related to criminal history checks for eligibility for various types of employment, to volunteer or provide certain services, or to establish or operate certain types of regulated businesses. The bill also limits the previous convictions that make a person ineligible for disposition under the first offender statute to a previous conviction for possession of a controlled substance or manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance. Under current law, a previous conviction for any drug-related criminal offense, or under any statute of the United States or of any state relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs makes a person ineligible for such disposition. The bill also amends the required conditions of probation under the first offender statute. The bill changes the penalty for an attempt to commit a felony drug offense from imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 10 years to a Class 6 felony and removes the felony offenses for a prisoner to secrete or have in his possession any chemical compound that he has not lawfully received, any Schedule III controlled substance, or marijuana. The bill makes secreting or possessing a controlled substance or marijuana by a prisoner punishable the same as possession of such controlled substances or marijuana by a person who is not in prison. Lastly, the bill provides that the definition of "controlled substance" for purposes of the Drug Control Act shall not include mere residue of any drug, substance, or immediate precursor in Schedules I through VI that is not a weighable quantity or a countable dosage unit. The bill contains technical amendments. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/19/2021Presented and ordered printed 21102869D
01/19/2021Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/26/2021Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
02/01/2021House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/01/2021Impact statement from DPB (HB2303)
02/03/2021House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/05/2021Left in Courts of Justice


Robert Legge writes:

Thank you, Sally Hudson. 4000 people a year are given felonies. Half serves some jail. $30M is spent for these people. 6 states including red states Oklahoma, Utah and Alaska have already done this. See for more info.

Robert Legge writes:

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Gary Smith writes:

The war on drugs has always been a concept that was going to fail. We need to stop throwing people in jail because they have a drug problem. It could be caused by many problems like, addiction or a self confidence problem ect. I believe virginia can do better in finding a way to deal with these issues instead of ruining someone life. I believe felony charges should be for high level barrier crimes like murder, rape ect.



Good bill,this will save many lives in more ways than one,opens a new chapter in Virginia for treating addiction more as a healthcare issue and less as a criminal justice issue , well done, we support this bill

Robert Legge writes:

Bill appears to be dead.