Virginia lawmakers pass bill to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, legalize casinos

The simple possession of marijuana carries a much lesser fine than before.

In a plan to decriminalize marijuana, the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates passed SB 2 on Sunday March 3, 2020.

The current law includes a maximum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense and a penalty of up to $500. Subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The new bill would decriminalize simple marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $50, or 5 hours of community service as an alternative punishment.

Hashish oil is also included in the bill.

RELATED: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announces support for legalization of recreation marijuana

Additionally, lawmakers have approved a broad expansion of gambling options in a state that's been largely loathe to embracing new betting options in the past.

Lawmakers gave final approval to legislation Sunday to allow voters in Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth to hold local referendums for Fall 2020 to approve casinos.

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Legislators also have approved the expansion of slot-like machines and signed off on online lottery sales and sports betting. Gov. Ralph Northam still needs to give final approval before the legislation can become law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report