If you have been paying focus to nearby news lately, you will have noticed that some massive jurisdictions like Gwinnett and Cobb have elected to cease prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana instances as a outcome of the Hemp Farming Act, enacted this year and going into impact July 1, 2019.
The concept behind the Hemp Farming Act is that hemp is a helpful crop with massive industrial prospective. It is accurate that hemp is a relative of the marijuana plant, but it consists of drastically significantly less THC, the chemical in marijuana (and hemp) that gets you higher. Hemp has significantly less than .three% of THC. The Hemp Farming Act spends a lot of time speaking about testing to make certain that the levels of THC in hemp crops remains under acceptable levels and, if not, the whole crop demands to be destroyed.
On its face, this is a fantastic law. Hemp solutions, which includes ropes produced of the fibers and lotions and other solutions produced from the extracts are of higher top quality and significant enterprise. Georgia touts itself as becoming a enterprise-friendly state: this law is in maintaining with that theme. As with lots of issues, nevertheless, the difficulty comes in the execution.
Apparently, the GBI crime labs and thus the nearby law enforcement agencies which do their personal testing and which have to comply with GBI methodologies, only test marijuana for the presence of THC in a drug sample, and not the level of THC. Thus, if a particular person was in possession of a compact quantity of hemp, it would be indistinguishable from a compact quantity of marijuana in a GBI test. Each would include some THC, albeit a single a entire lot significantly less than the other. The logic, then, is that till the crime labs can inform hemp from its practically-identical cousin marijuana, a marijuana possession case would be practically unproveable in court. That is why jurisdictions like Gwinnett and Cobb County have determined that is not worth their time to even attempt.
When I very first study about this, it seemed like a shocking lack of preparation to me. The Hemp Farming Act presumed a testing process that could distinguish amongst .three% of THC and .33% of THC, a extremely slight distinction certainly. I contacted the Division of Agriculture to see what their procedures have been and irrespective of whether or not they have been sharing their procedures with the GBI. In some cases the apparent resolution is the a single not regarded as.
Alas, the Division of Agriculture has not however authorized a technique of testing either. Speak about placing the cart ahead of the horse. My totally non-scientific Google search on the topic (which will no doubt lead to some extremely suspicious targeted promoting in the close to future) led to no precise ‘gold standard’ of testing which other states use, even though testing methodologies do exist.
What does this imply in the brief and lengthy term? Does it make getting compact quantities of marijuana correctly legal in some components of Georgia? Maybe, but be cautious – just for the reason that the Gwinnett County or Cobb County police will not arrest you for getting a joint, it does not imply that the person municipalities inside Gwinnett or Cobb County will not. And even though you could almost certainly ask for a jury trial and get out of it that way, you will nonetheless be (potentially) arrested and have to deal with it. Till there is a consensus amongst the courts and law enforcement, I wouldn’t rely on that. Marijuana possession is nonetheless illegal below state and federal law. The Hemp Farming Act just puts a wrinkle in the matter of proof. Thus, it has absolutely nothing to do with earlier convictions, considering the fact that proof has currently occurred. An admission that you have marijuana is proof that you have marijuana, so if you have currently plead guilty or nolo to a charge, you have no recourse.
Lengthy term, I would assume that ultimately a testing technique will be agreed upon and authorized, and we will go back to the way issues have been, unless the law alterations in some other way in the interim. Tests for the level of THC do exist in the scientific neighborhood, even if a precise test hasn’t been authorized by the GBI or the Georgia Division of Agriculture.
For all the fantastic intentions of this law, and for all the techniques it mirrors related laws in other states, it does look to have been passed without the need of preparation or believed to the unintended consequences.