With new hemp law, ‘sniff and search’ goes up in smoke

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By John Pacenti

Palm Beach County State Lawyer Dave Aronberg puts police on notice: Marijuana arrests are going to be hard now that hemp is legal in Florida.

To get the state on the forefront of a burgeoning sector, legislators acting with uncommon bipartisan assistance unwittingly took away a significantly-utilised tool from law enforcement.

The law went into impact July 1, much more than two years right after voters authorized healthcare marijuana in Florida.

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“We will not be in a position to prosecute any marijuana or THC oil instances with no a test from an accredited lab indicating that the THC content material is more than .three %,” the memo says.

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He has told his deputies to cease creating marijuana arrests. And a memo from his state lawyer, Bruce Colton, says till labs are set up to distinguish among hemp and pot, “officers should really not make a probable result in arrest for a cannabis-connected offense.”

The drug-sniffing K9s ‒ meticulously and expensively educated to detect the slightest odor of marijuana ‒ will not be in a position to distinguish the old-college drug from the new.

“The odor of marijuana ‒ by itself ‒ is no longer probable result in for a search,” the state attorney’s e-mail says. “This is correct no matter whether the odor is detected by an officer, or by a dog.”

And Florida is not the only state grappling with these modifications.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation wrote to that state’s Legislature expressing issues on creating arrests for possession.

“The inability for law enforcement to distinguish among hemp and marijuana is problematic in all marijuana prosecutions, from modest amounts to trafficking amounts of plant material,” the group told lawmakers.

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