Law Enforcement to Upgrade Test Kit for Hemp and Marijuana
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Law enforcement across central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley will soon have a new tool at their disposal to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. It's become an issue following the legalization of hemp production in the commonwealth.
Currently law enforcement has only one way of testing if that green, leafy substance is pot or not, but with industrial hemp on the rise, the current test can't tell the difference.
The Virginia Department of Forensic Science is working to purchase about 15,000 "Swiss" or "4-AP" test kits for plant material.
The General Assembly defined hemp as having less than .3% of THC, just like it is at the federal level.
The additional test tool will help cut down on the number of lab tests that need to be done as hemp and CBD become more popular for recreational use.
“With hemp coming online the problem in the past has always been the testing for hemp has been burdensome and time consuming, as well as expensive, because our field test will test positive whether it's hemp or whether it's marijuana,” said Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney David Ledbetter.
The director of the Department of Forensic Science hopes to have the test kits ready for distribution next month.
The state lab is also working on ways to detect THC levels in plant material. That's because a defendant could use the hemp defense. Right now, that involves a lengthier test done at the crime lab.