Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the creation of a Major Marijuana Trafficking Grant Program to assist law enforcement in differentiating between hemp and marijuana.
The grant program will provide $50,000 in funding for law enforcement agencies to have large quantities of marijuana tested in accredited laboratories that have the capabilities to quantify THC.
“Just because the law changed, it doesn’t mean the bad guys get a ‘get of out of jail free’ card,” Yost said. “We are equipping law enforcement with the resources to do their jobs.”
Senate Bill 57 changed the Ohio Revised Code definition of marijuana to exclude hemp, defined as cannabis containing not more than 0.3% THC. With this definitional change, marijuana cannot be identified solely by historical techniques such as microscopic examination and chemical color testing. Quantitative analysis is necessary to determine THC levels.
The legislature provided funding through House Bill 166 for the purchase of quantitative testing instruments, which have been placed in the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratories in Richfield, Ohio, and London, Ohio. A third machine will be added to the laboratory in Bowling Green, Ohio. BCI is currently validating instruments, developing methodologies, and creating procedures for the quantitative testing of THC content and should be equipped to receive evidence early next year.