According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a long-awaited testing device that can differentiate between hemp or marijuana will soon be available. But, until then, DPS Director Steve McCraw told localenforcement agencies that the state’s crime labs will not test suspected marijuana in misdemeanor marijuana possession cases.
The problem arose after Texas lawmakers revised the definition of cannabis last year because hemp became federally legal, Texas Tribune reported. The two plants can look identical. However, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, the substance in the plant that produces a high, while marijuana is considered anything above 0.3% THC.
“DPS can only speculate on the volume of cases where a defendant might claim the substance for which they are arrested is actually hemp,” the agency stated. “Also, DPS labs do not currently routinely test marihuana for misdemeanor charges unless the prosecutor or law enforcement officer makes a special request because it is needed for trial.”
The new THC testing device is expected be implemented by the DPS before June.