Texas Police Will Be Able to Test for THC Concentration between Marijuana and Hemp
Texas police will have the ability to test oil and plant-based products for THC by as early as this March.
News station WFAA-TV reports Texas DPS and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville have developed equipment that will allow law enforcement to test cannabis products to determine THC concentration in plant and oil-based cannabis products. This technology will allow police officers to differentiate legal cannabis (hemp) and illegal cannabis (marijuana).
The need for this technology came after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed H.B. 1325 into law, which made certain CBD products legal in Texas. Under the law, anything with a THC concentration of less than 0.3 percent is considered hemp. The difference between hemp and marijuana created a conflict when it came to marijuana possession cases, as state crime labs previously did not have the proper testing equipment.
Officers who have to use probable cause to determine the likelihood that someone possesses marijuana but not hemp may still follow through with arrests. The cases must wait until lab results determine whether the substance in question is hemp or marijuana.
County and District attorneys across Texas began dismissing marijuana cases, while others rejected the cases. The THC tests is also expecting to be met with a large backlog of cases from around the state as samples confiscated by law enforcement have been piling up in evidence rooms.
The Star Telegram reports that hundreds of marijuana-related cases were dismissed due to the change in the state’s hemp laws. Most of these cases were dismissed pending lab reports to determine THC concentration. These can be re-filed as the statute of limitations runs two years for misdemeanors and three years for felonies from the date when the offence was committed.
The Department of Public Safety should be expected to have their labs up and running in March.
If you are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, it is advisable that you contact an experienced defense attorney knowledgeable in Texas laws about marijuana. Having an insufficient defense can lead to extra prison time, more fines and drug rehabilitation classes.