When industrial hemp was federally legalized in December, it opened up a entire new market place and helped legitimize (nonetheless unregulated) CBD items. Even so, this also designed an unexpected headache.
The issue with the U.S. classification of hemp is that it is primarily based on THC content material, rather than the variety of plant. Marijuana (cannabis sativa) is the THC-wealthy variant in the cannabis plant genus, though hemp (cannabis sativa L.) is 99.7% CBD.
In order to be classified as hemp, the dry herb need to include .three% THC or significantly less. But with no trustworthy test to ascertain THC content material to such a close level, law enforcement could not supply conclusive proof that a suspect was in possession of marijuana. People could merely claim they had hemp and would by no means set foot in a courtroom.
At this time, testing procedures are meant to match the old laws, exactly where cannabis of all types was prohibited. But with a new legal limit getting set for THC, crime labs require anything extra precise.
Initially, police employed a field test identified as the “Duquenois Levine test.” It relies on a chemical reaction that turns purple if it detects the presence of cannabis. The issue is that it does not differentiate among marijuana and hemp.
New Test is Street-Prepared
In contrast to the old approach, the new a single can quickly differentiate among marijuana and hemp. Employing a straightforward chemical reaction, the sample turns purple for hemp and blue for marijuana.
Like the Duquenois Levine test, the new approach is also meant to be employed in the field. Even so, its function is meant to be preliminary, not conclusive.
Initial, law enforcement will use the old approach to confirm the presence of cannabis. If the sample turns purple, the second test will be administered. Traditional wisdom would dictate forgoing the old approach and skipping straight to the new solution. Even so, the latter is 3 instances extra high priced, so only a supervisor can administer it when the Duquenois Levine test confirms the sample to be cannabis.
Even if the sample does blue, it requires to be sent to a lab to confirm no matter if the THC level is above 1% – the threshold assigned to ascertain no matter if criminal charges are to be laid.
False Sense of Safety
Christine Gabig, the regional forensic scientist who validated the test in Douglas County, warns:
“There is no significant crisis. Everyone was saying that no one could get in difficulty any longer for marijuana, or that we primarily legalized marijuana, or that we primarily legalized marijuana and that didn’t take place.”
Douglas County is the only place in Nebraska applying this new test. But if prosperous, it will probably spread to other law enforcement agencies to combat the present leg.