Is it pot or is it hemp? Thanks to new technology the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will now be able to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the change.
“BCI’s new ability to differentiate between marijuana and hemp creates a valuable resource for officers who depend on our laboratory services, offered at no cost to them,” Yost said. “This major achievement bolsters our reputation as the leading crime lab in the state.”
This new equipment will allow the lab to analyze cannabis, cannabis oil, marijuana edibles, hemp fiber, and other substances to determine the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. THC is the chemical that gives products derived from marijuana their intoxicating properties.
Law Causes Confusion
The change happened in response to Senate Bill 57, which changed the Ohio Revised Code’s definition of marijuana to exclude hemp.
Hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than .3% THC. This is based on the dried weight of cannabis. Previously, the lab used microscopes or chemical reactions with a reagent to identify marijuana.
“Ohio prosecutors are very appreciative of the hard work that Attorney General Yost and BCI have done to bring this critical testing capability to Ohio,” said Louis Tobin, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
Every since hemp was legalized, law enforcement officers have had a problem attempting to distinguish between marijuana and hemp. They have sometimes been forced to resort to sending samples to expensive private labs to make the determination.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office had offered grant funding for police agencies to use to pay for the lab tests while the Bureau of Criminal Investigation worked on updating its lab capabilities. Nearly $4,000 has given to agencies to pay for testing.
Tobin said, “With the Attorney General’s announcement today, Ohio prosecutors will be better able to enforce our drug laws and protect Ohioans. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Attorney General and his staff as we work to keep Ohio safe.”
According to the Attorney General, BCI is also looking at ways to test THC-infused food products.