RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would allow people charged for the first time with possession of marijuana to later have the charge expunged.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the vote Monday on Republican Sen. Tommy Norment's bill was 38-2.

Norment previously said he was in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana but opted not to introduce a bill that went that far, saying he didn't think it could pass.

He said the bill that advanced Monday "makes a substantial step forward."

The newspaper reports the bill would require an expungement fee. That money would pay for a database of those who had charges expunged, so people couldn't use the benefit more than once.

The measure must still pass the House before it goes to the governor.