Hemp & Compliance News

Atlanta Journal-Constitution   |   Atlanta, GA   |   July 13, 2020   |   By: Mark Niesse

Hemp bill leaves some cops unable to enforce marijuana laws in Georgia

Police can’t tell the difference between illegal marijuana and legal hemp plants, and law enforcement officials said testing small amounts of green leafy substances is more trouble than it’s worth.

“Marijuana remains illegal in Georgia. That hasn’t changed,” said Pete Skandalakis, executive director for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia. “The problem law enforcement will face now is when there’s less than an ounce, there’s no field test that will let you distinguish between hemp and marijuana.”


Atlanta Journal-Constitution   |   Atlanta, GA   |   March 30, 2020   |   By: Mark Niesse

Hemp farming approved to begin in Georgia this summer

Hemp farming has finally gotten the green light to begin in Georgia, bringing a new crop that will sprout this summer. Farmers will soon be able to grow hemp, which will then be processed into CBD oil, a popular product used for anxiety and sleeplessness. CBD oil is already sold in stores across Georgia, but it’s imported from other states.

The prospects for the Georgia hemp industry to start this year were in doubt until the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the state’s hemp plan this month. 


Hemp Industry Daily   |   Arlington, VA   |   February 26, 2020   |   By: Laura Drotleff

USDA drops DEA testing requirement for 2020, while FDA acknowledges demand for CBD

Federal agriculture officials will delay the requirement that all THC testing on hemp crops must be performed at laboratories registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. And food and drug regulators say it’s a “fool’s errand” to get people to stop taking over-the-counter CBD. The testing delay comes after farmers and states alike complained there wouldn’t be enough DEA labs to handle demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledges the complaints in an update Thursday.


“We now better understand how the limited number of DEA-registered labs will hinder testing and better understand the associated costs with disposing of product that contains over 0.3% THC could make entering the hemp market too risky,” the USDA wrote.


Atlanta Journal-Constitution   |   Atlanta, GA   |   February 18, 2020   |   By: Mark Niesse

Georgia bill advances for police to make arrests for hemp or marijuana

Police across Georgia would be empowered to arrest people for possession of small amounts of green leafy substances, even if they can't tell whether it's illegal marijuana or legal hemp, according to a bill that passed a state House committee.

Prosecutors and police said they need a way to enforce marijuana offenses after several metro Atlanta cities and counties stopped making arrests for low-level marijuana offenses. Hemp and marijuana look similar, and officers would need a test to determine whether the substance is illegal.


Bristol Herald Courier   |   Bristol, TN   |   Nov 16, 2019   |   By: Robert Sorrell

HEMP OR POT?  Local police finding it difficult to differentiate between hemp and marijuana

As hemp continues to gain popularity across the region, local law enforcement officers are finding it difficult to differentiate this legal product from illegal marijuana, requiring them to submit evidence to backed-up state laboratories.

“There's no way under a trained eye or even a trained microscope that you can tell the difference between hemp and high-grade marijuana, so I think that you can only imagine the investigative nightmare or hurdles that that would present,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Tommy Farmer.


Tampa Bay Times   |  Tampa, FL   |    Oct 9, 2019   |   By: Kathryn Varn

Pinellas sheriff, state attorney raise bar for pot arrests

The bar just got higher for deputies to make marijuana arrests in Pinellas County. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe on Wednesday issued a memo cautioning deputies about making pot arrests in light of a new law legalizing a type of cannabis called hemp. 


The problem for law enforcement is in the measurement. Hemp-derived products still contain trace amounts of THC, so the new law allows up to 0.3 percent of the compound in products. But the field tests used by law enforcement can only determine the presence of THC, not the concentration.


The Repository   |   Canton, OH   |   October 5, 2019   |   By: Samantha Ickes

Illegal marijuana or legal hemp? Senate bill creates confusion for law enforcement

Hemp and marijuana look and smell alike, prompting a question for local law enforcement officers:  How do you spot the difference? With the passage of the bill (Ohio Senate Bill 57), law enforcement agencies are faced with two dilemmas: K-9's cannot tell the difference between hemp and marijuana, and crime labs cannot determine the amount of THC in a sample.

According to the Ohio Attorney General, the scent of marijuana is enough "probable cause" to search a vehicle or home.


Click Orlando   |   Orlando, FL   |   August 5, 2019   |   By: Adrianna Iwasinski

FL prosecutors: Sniff test isn't enough for misdemeanor marijuana cases

A new law has prosecutors pausing misdemeanor marijuana cases. Their new mandate is changing what happens to people found with marijuana. The new law has legalized hemp, and no longer includes the substance under the cannabis definition. This law allows people to legally possess hemp with minuscule amounts of THC, about .3% or less.


Now prosecutors across Central Florida have alerted police departments and sheriff's offices that any pot cases presented to their office will have to have an independent lab test proving the substance found is not hemp. THC is the ingredient that creates the high if one were to use .3% or more. Though hemp plants and flowers look and smell much like cannabis, hemp has very small non-intoxicating concentrations of THC, which could change the legality of some drug arrests.


NBC 4   |   Washington, DC   |   May 23, 2019   |   By: Katie Leslie, Jodie Fleisher, Steve Jones and Jeff Piper

Popular police field tests can't tell the difference between CBD and marijuana

The popularity of CBD products is on the rise, with an increasing number of state legislatures following a federal move to legalize marijuana’s hemp cousin. But the News4 I-Team has learned the field tests commonly used by law enforcement to detect drugs haven’t kept pace, resulting in legal headaches for some CBD users whose products test positive for pot.

What’s more, many government-run forensic labs aren’t yet capable of measuring the exact amount of THC — the chemical that can produce a high — in most CBD or marijuana products, a necessary tool to help distinguish between the two.


Denver Post   |   Portland, OR   |   March 28, 2019   |   By: Gillian Flaccus

Legal hemp, pot's look-alike, creates quandary for police

Federal legalization of hemp arrived in the U.S. late last year and expanded an industry already booming because of the sky-rocketing popularity of CBDs, a compound in hemp that many see as a health aid. But now, just a few months after Congress placed the marijuana look-alike squarely in safe legal territory, the hemp industry has been unsettled by an unexpected development.

Truckers, now free to haul hemp from state to state, have been stopped and sometimes arrested by police who can’t tell whether they have intercepted a legal agricultural crop or the biggest marijuana bust of their careers. That’s because the only way to distinguish hemp and marijuana, which look and smell alike, is by measuring their tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and officers don’t have the testing technology to do so on the spot.