Hemp Legalization Complicates Marijuana Prosecution in Texas
HB 1325 that effectively legalized industrial hemp in Texas has the “unintended consequence” of making it difficult for prosecutors to peruse charges for individuals arrested for “Marijuana” possession. As explained in my most recent article, Hemp and Marijuana are both scientifically the same plant that is called Cannabis with THC content being the main component that sets the two apart. The new law in Texas states that Cannabis plants with a content of .3% THC or less is now legal to be cultivated and sold. The issue with this law is that “Marijuana” and “Hemp” cannot be told apart by sight and on-site testing too outdated to determine levels of THC. This law henceforth places the burden of proof “Marijuana” possession on the prosecution, unofficially requiring testing of all evidence collected for the THC levels. The Austin American-Statesman covered this issue today with a front page article describing why lack of funding causes prosecutors to be unable to lawfully peruse the amount of cases with which they are inundated. The state of Texas only has one lab to test THC levels and this lab is generally reserved for higher profile cases as it is a costly process and a representative from the lab must appear in court for each individual case. Because of this, all across Texas many departments are responding to the grey area in the law by limiting “Marijuana” arrests.
In an interview with KVEO News Luis Saenz, Cameron County Prosecutor said “This is one of these cases where the politicians get together in Austin and for whatever reason they do things without checking with us. And they didn’t check with us” referring to his state representatives.
As this is a developing story, I’ll be around to bring you more info to the next Sesh.