RICHMOND (AP) — A Virginia state Senate committee has voted to kill a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports nine Republicans on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted Monday against the bill while six Democrats voted for it.
The bill from Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin changed the punishment for marijuana possession from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment flipped positions and is now pushing legislation that would allow someone charged with a first offense for marijuana possession to have it expunged.
Norment says he changed his mind because a decriminalization bill would not get through a House committee.
Norment’s new bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee after the Senate courts committee unanimously passed it.