Texas Develops a Test to Differentiate Marijuana From Hemp

Law enforcement is finally equipped to tell illicit cannabis from legal hemp.
Luca Marani
Written by Luca Marani, Cannabis Educator
Last Updated
Hemp Marijuana testing

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the city’s Forensic Science Center has devised a chemical testing procedure capable of differentiating between hemp and psychoactive cannabis. In June 2019, the law that defines hemp and ‘weed’ became effective: it distinguishes them from each basing on whether they are above 0,3% THC content. The maneuver, intended to serve as an added business safety for hemp farmers, created an issue at the prosecution level: THC content has to be proven, since this bill passed. And, a that time, Texas laboratories were not equipped to provide the analytical evidence that entities like state-licensers or prosecutors need to enact regulations.

Up to this day, state agencies were forced to rely on costly analyses services provided by private laboratories. This new testing method will be limited to the plants themselves, and will not be structured in a way to assess active principle content in any other form of cannabis products.  The procedure represents the fruit of more than a year of work, conducted by two lab employees, who adapted a DEA test methodology in order to serve them in the differentiation between hemp and marijuana.  Another peculiarity of this testing practice, besides working solely with plant material, is the fact that it accounts for a 0,3% THC ‘wiggle-room’, which should keep every party involved away from the risk of legal hassles coming from a false positive.

Texan hemp farmers, finally, can rely on the certainty that local law enforcement will be able to properly do their job and distinguish their operations from illicit or non-compliant ones, without the concerns caused by the lack of resources.

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Luca Marani
Luca Marani
Cannabis Educator
Luca Marani is an educator and content creator from Italy. He graduated in 2017 from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, with a Master of Arts in Political Philosophy, writing a dissertation on what was the state of the medical cannabis legislative framework in Spain at the time, and how it affected the rights of the Spanish medical cannabis users community to dignity and quality of life.

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