A letter from the State Attorney to the law enforcement agencies states that marijuana possession cases will no longer be prosecuted in Tallahassee, Florida and the surrounding area.
The decision has reportedly been taken because of the difficulty faced in easily differentiating hemp from marijuana. “Hemp and marijuana products look and smell exactly the same,” Jack Campbell, the State Attorney for Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, said in a press release.
Presently, both private and government labs in Florida use methods that can only detect the presence of THC in a sample and not its exact quantity. With legal hemp products containing less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound flooding the markets, prosecuting a person solely on the basis of ‘presumptions’ is not a right practice, said Campbell. “The current scenario is that no public or private lab in Florida can do this kind of testing. The Florida Department of Agriculture is unable to do so, and while there are some private labs that may want to get in this business, they are not online as of now,” Campbell wrote in the letter.
Hence, Campbell’s office wouldn’t prosecute any more cases of marijuana possession until the time “a scientifically proven test can be introduced into evidence to distinguish illegal marijuana from legal hemp.”
Furthermore, no search warrants will be issued if the grounds for suspicion include the smell of marijuana, field tests for THC or an alert from drug-detecting dogs.
“The search and seizure laws hinge entirely on either the officer or the dog’s ability to smell. This is now apparently in significant doubt,” Campbell wrote.