As hemp laws are enacted in various states around the country, many of you may have heard of a “problem” cropping up in places like Texas and Florida. Many prosecutors in Texas have stopped pursuing marijuana cases because of the cost involved in determining whether the plant matter in question is hemp (legal) or marijuana (illegal). A similar situation has arisen in Florida as many in law enforcement simply have no way of knowing out on the road – or even in a lab – whether something is hemp or marijuana, so some are being told not to make any cannabis arrests at all.
To be fair, a confusing situation is no fun to work in. Confusion leads to unnecessary problems and those should be avoided in general as you navigate life. On the other hand, allow me to pull out my very tiny violin and play a song of lamentation for the fact that less people are being arrested for marijuana.
This article from The Texas Tribune is very long and very focused on how all of these “problems” could have been avoided if lawmakers would have just listened to all the prophets sounding the alarm. Now police and prosecutors have to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana and since the funding for the lab equipment needed wasn’t earmarked well, then…what? Less people end up getting charged with marijuana offenses. I guess that’s a “problem” if you really enjoy people being arrested for marijuana, but it’s not really a problem for the rest of us.
A bit of the way down in the Tribune article, we find this gem:
The fiscal note attached to the bill did include nonspecific predictions of potential earnings from regulating hemp. The board spokesperson also noted that DPS crime lab services got a $50 million boost this legislative session. Those funds, to cover the next two years, were given to increase crime lab capacity overall by hiring more than 100 new positions and, notably, prioritize the testing of backlogged rape kits.
None of the additional $50 million was earmarked specifically for marijuana testing.
“Backlogged rape kits.” Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t EVERY SINGLE RAPE KIT be analyzed before any money is spent differentiating whether some plant matter has “too much” THC in it? No money “was earmarked specifically for marijuana testing?” Good! Why should any plants be tested while there are rape kits going untested? One involves the often extremely violent violation of a human being. The other is about a plant.
No to be too condescending, but I think prosecutors and law enforcement in places like Texas and Florida will survive this trial and/or tribulation. And hey, if it’s really such a big deal, just legalize adult-use marijuana. Problem solved.