New Criminal Laws in Affecting Casinos, Drugs, and Guns

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As of July 1, the Commonwealth of Virginia has many new laws on the books. Some interesting laws affect gambling, drugs, and gun possession. These new criminal laws are major, potentially allowing for casinos in Virginia cities, more leniency for marijuana possession, and more mechanisms for gun control at the local level. This new flood of legislation comes from Democratic control and teamwork between the Virginia General Assembly and Office of the Governor.

While some laws may be more lenient, the gun laws have the potential to cause issues for unknowing Virginians. If any issues arise, be sure to contact a knowledgeable Virginia lawyer. Doing so can help you understand the new guidelines under Virginia criminal law and retain your rights. 

Criminal Laws


Recent laws legalized casino gambling in five cities: Richmond, Norfolk, Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth. This means residents can vote in local November referendums to officially introduce casinos to their city. Furthermore, this measure would also legalize sports betting, although betting on sporting events involving Commonwealth colleges would be prohibited. Overall, this could signal relaxed laws regarding online and sports gambling and help the state earn tax revenue for critical sectors.


Possession of marijuana will have lesser penalties and no longer carry jail time or a criminal conviction. Those found with less than an ounce of marijuana will face a $25 civil fine and most records related to the simple possession charge will be sealed. Furthermore, employers and schools will not be allowed to ask applicants about any prior simple possession convictions. This law aims to help those with a drug conviction recover from their charges and lead a better life without barriers.

Another law that was expanded in 2019 is that if you have a medical condition, and it has been confirmed by your doctor, you will be able to consume and use CBD as a pain reliever. The CBD or THCA oil will need to have less than 5% THC, and at least 15% CBD in order to qualify. You can find suitable oils from or other approved pharmaceutical companies. 


The new wave of legislation also enhances gun control efforts. Some notable provisions include:

  • Violations for exposing minors to guns in a “reckless” manner
  • Mandatory police reports for a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of an incident
  • Firearm disarmament for those placed on a restraining order
  • More power for municipalities to enact their own gun control statutes
  • Background checks for all firearm sales
  • A one handgun per month purchase maximum for citizens
  • Added court jurisdiction to remove firearms from people in crisis

Since these gun laws introduce different legal mechanisms, law-abiding gun owners may encounter some difficulties when trying to buy new firearms or owning current ones.

“This new series of Virginia legislation is important for gun owners especially,” said attorney Steve Duckett of Price Benowitz LLP. “Commonwealth statutes now grant towns and cities additional power to set their own gun reform measures, rather than relying on existing Virginia guidelines. As such, the gun-owning process can become complicated in the coming months and years. Should you get into trouble, contact a committed Virginia guns attorney to help you with your case.”

With these effects considered, it may take some time for Virginia citizens to realize and abide by these rules. Although laxer laws regarding casinos and drugs are now on the books, gun control efforts may create difficulties for some law-abiding citizens. 

While there are many new laws in the Commonwealth, these criminal laws may be the most critical to understand. If you get into any legal trouble regarding a new Virginia law, it is advised you contact an experienced attorney. Doing so will help build a case and put it within the frameworks of the new legislation.