RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A key panel in the Virginia state House has rejected a proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the panel voted 7-1 against the measure Wednesday, likely dooming any chance of Virginia joining the growing list of states to decriminalize or legalize the drug.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment is pushing legislation that would lessen penalties for a first marijuana-related offense.