FDLE Unable to Detect THC Levels

February 10, 2020

As of July 2019, Florida decriminalized hemp—which caused a multitude of complications for law enforcement officers and lawmakers across the state. If you’ve heard of CBD and its purported benefits, you may also be aware that this particular strain of cannabis is not supposed to get you high, or create a psychoactive effect. Proponents tout its relaxation and anti-anxiety properties—but how are law enforcement officers able to determine whether someone under the influence of CBD is actually “high”?

A new test

Previously, the technology that determined the presence of THC in the system could not distinguish between CBD or THC—if you had used a hemp or marijuana product, you would test positive. Now, however, there is a test from a manufacturer in Switzerland that purports to be able to tell the difference.

The benefit of this kind of development is obvious: owners and users of legal hemp products won’t risk being detained (or worse) by officers who can’t tell the difference.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) told a news outlet:

“Currently the laboratories in the state of Florida have only been able to determine that plant material is cannabis. Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, ‘cannabis]; the only difference is the amount of THC or CBD certain strains of hemp and cannabis produce. With the new legislation, the laboratories’ current practice of stating this plant material is cannabis is not sufficient to distinguish the strains. The labs must now determine the amount of THC that is in the plant material or edible. This requires a more complicated and time-consuming process and the laboratories struggle to keep up with the current workloads. Implementing even a semi-quantitative testing process will require additional equipment and personnel to handle the increased submissions and the lengthier exams.”

In fact, the FDLE is unable—and unwilling—to test marijuana for the amount of THC present.

The new kind of test, produced by Syndicate Chemistry, can tell the difference. However, it costs about $15 per test. Only two out of Florida’s 52 agencies who signed up to receive the kits have confirmed that they’re actually using them in everyday law enforcement duties—which means that there’s still a wide gap between availability and enforcement.

The new hemp laws have been responsible for misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and arrests in Florida dramatically decreasing. Distinguishing between legal hemp use and misdemeanor marijuana possession will now hinge on getting a cost-effective, reliable testing process in place across the entire state.

Need help with Florida THC laws in Tavares, FL?

If you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related crime, you need to call an experienced attorney immediately. No matter what the nature of the charges may be, K.J. Law P.A. will zealously defend you. We will be with you every step of the way, helping you negotiate the confusing and complex criminal litigation system from beginning to end. Call K.J. Law P.A. today to speak with one of our skilled and knowledgeable drug attorneys in Tavares, FL.

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