Marijuana possession circumstances will no longer be prosecuted in Tallahassee, Florida and the surrounding location, according to a letter to law enforcement agencies from the State Lawyer. The action was taken in response to the legalization of hemp in Florida earlier this year and at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
In the letter from Jack Campbell, the State Lawyer for Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, law enforcement agencies had been informed that the difficulty in simply differentiating hemp and marijuana led to the choice.
Marijuana or Hemp?
Campbell noted that there are now CBD gummies, hemp pre-rolls, and other items that are now legal becoming sold in Florida. And whilst they could look to be produced from marijuana primarily based on their smell or look, there is not a way to inform with out sophisticated laboratory evaluation.
“It’s the identical issue as if somebody looked at a glass of alcohol. You could possibly be in a position to smell and inform that there’s alcohol, but you couldn’t appear or smell and say what the proof of it is,” mentioned Campbell.
Presently, each private and government labs in Florida use lab tests that only indicate the presence of THC, not the concentration of the cannabinoid. Field tests to recognize marijuana that are normally utilised by law enforcement officers face related limitations. With hemp items containing much less than .three% THC now legal, prosecutors are no longer in a position to bring charges primarily based solely on the presence of THC in a sample.
“The existing posture is that no public or private lab in Florida can do this dispositive testing. The Florida Division of Agriculture is unable to do so, and whilst there are some private labs that could want to get this business enterprise, they are not on the web as of now,” Campbell wrote in the letter.
Due to the fact of the difficulty, Campbell mentioned that his workplace would no longer prosecute marijuana possession circumstances till “such time that a scientifically confirmed test that can be introduced into proof can distinguish illegal marijuana from legal hemp.”
No Additional Search Warrants Primarily based on Smell
Campbell also informed all police departments and sheriff’s departments in the 2nd Judicial Circuit that his workplace would no longer authorize search warrants primarily based on field tests for THC, the smell of marijuana, or an alert from drug-detecting dogs.
“Much of the search and seizure law hinges on either the officer’s or K-9’s capacity to smell. This appears to now be in considerable doubt,” Campbell wrote.
Campbell acknowledged that the new law would present challenges to law enforcement and mentioned that he anticipated diverse agencies could adopt diverse approaches to the enforcement of marijuana laws.
“I assume you are going to have some agencies that are going to continue to arrest and seize. I assume you are going to have some that are going to be concerned about doable wrongful arrest,” mentioned Campbell.