Texas can’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana, and it’s caused the state to toss out or delay thousands of low-level cannabis possession cases.
Last summer the state’s House of Representatives and State Senate voted for hemp legalization. Ever since, Texas authorities, most of whom lack the equipment to test whether a plant is hemp or not, are at somewhat of a loss.
As a result, cannabis convictions in the Lone Star state have plummeted in the last seven months.
Some regions simply threw up their hands in defeat after hemp legalization. High Timesreports that the same month Governor Greg Abbot signed the legalization bill, the county of Tarrant dismissed 235 cannabis cases.
Other regions aren’t giving up so easy. Some jurisdictions have sent their samples to the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) for testing, though this seems like a pretty half-baked plan.
The DPS does not actually have their equipment in place yet. It will soon, but even when it does it will only be able to test if a cannabis flower has a THC content of 2% or higher. Considering that the THC limit for hemp in the state is 0.3%, that’s not all that helpful.
The equipment will not be able to test at all for cannabis concentrate or edibles.
Meanwhile, some regions have taken it upon themselves to pay for their own cannabis sample testing. For instance, High Times reports that the cities of Frisco and Plano have budgeted for THC tests, even though they can cost the city hundreds of dollars a pop.
Meanwhile, the average Texas citizen doesn’t seem to consider this expense a priority. A recent pollshowed that 38% of voters support recreational legalization while only 14% believed it should remain illegal in the state.
Photo via Flickr/Katheirne Hitt