Marijuana Prosecutions Likely to Rise Again as Prosecutors Can Accurately Differentiate the Two Substances
Hemp and marijuana are derived from the same plant, cannabis, with the difference between the two substances being their THC concentration. Hemp, which has a concentration less than .3, was legalized last year. Marijuana contains a THC concentration above .3, and its use remains illegal in Texas.
Though marijuana remained illegal last year, the number of charges dropped as prosecutors had immense difficulty proving whether the substance involved in their case was hemp or, in fact, marijuana. Law enforcement throughout the state essentially halted any prosecutions on misdemeanor marijuana cases due to the inability to correctly identify THC concentrations, even if they could detect cannabis.
The previous method of determining THC concentration was unsustainable. The state did not have the proper tools or training necessary to perform the tests. Furthermore, obtaining them would be a financial burden and take significant time. Now, Houston is able to distinguish between the cannabis byproducts in their crime lab easily and affordably.
The THC content is found through a chemical test offered at the city’s public lab. Currently, the test can only accurately identify THC levels of cannabis plants. There is currently no method for testing the THC content of other cannabis products.
With a new, accurate, and accessible method of distinguishing between marijuana and hemp, Texas is predicting an uptick in relevant charges.
Though not much is known about the intention of law enforcement officers and how they will approach this recent development, Texans should remain aware of the state’s marijuana laws. If you were to get caught and charged with marijuana now, the prosecutors have access to an affordable public facility to get the concentration information they need to build a difficult case against you.
This new method offers a hope for prosecutors throughout the state, and a stronger necessity to enlist a strong defense attorney like Rene A. Flores. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related offense, contact The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC.