Virginia’s law includes hemp-derived CBD products in the state’s legal definition of marijuana. The state’s forensic labs don’t have the necessary equipment to measure the levels of THC in CBD products to ensure that they’re compliant. This leaves those possessing CBD in jeopardy of facing criminal charges.
Right now, the labs can only detect if a product has THC but not how much, NBC 4 News Washington says. Not roping hemp products and marijuana products into the same category would have been a better approach. CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less are not considered to be marijuana, but the state needs new equipment to test products.
The Department of Forensic Science Director Linda Jackson said, “We will have to do an additional test, which we have never done before. The new law has definitely complicated all of this.”
A store owner, who said the products in his store were CBD, was arrested in Fredericksburg within a week of the new law taking effect. Hemp production is now legal in the state, but people are still getting caught up in the legal limbo of improper clarification of the law.
Delegate Mark Keam said, “We want to do the right thing in Virginia. One thing that we never wanted to do was put innocent people in legal jeopardy.”
The state hopes to have new testing capabilities up and running in the next couple of months so that innocent persons aren’t getting caught up in the criminal justice system. Law enforcement officials also need new field tests since they detect cannabinoids (CBD and THC). The tests don’t distinguish a difference between cannabinoids.
Keam said, “Until we fix the law itself, the only thing we can do as legislators is to urge our executive branch partners to ensure that this is not a place that they should be prosecuting.”
The labs also need equipment that can determine the difference between Hemp CBD flower and marijuana flower.