In recent years, with state legislatures legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana with thirty-three states thus far passing such laws, there has been growing popularity as of late in using CBD as a safe and for the most part legal alternative to its cannabis relative. However, as this growing trend sweeps the nation a problematic concern has surfaced and caught the light of the public attention. Reports are flooding through the countryside of incidents where the standard field test utilized by police agencies to test for THC in marijuana for lack of better terms, cannot distinguish between CBD and THC, which have led to cases of unwarranted arrests, and as such, calls for a drastic call to action in finding a viable solution to this issue.
Within the stretch of merely a month, multiple news articles have circulated through Washington D.C.’s news station, NBC 4 Washington, pertaining to this nasty affair. Both instances include accounts of personage’s being, strictly speaking, unlawfully arrested as a direct consequence of police field tests essentially being unable to differentiate between CBD and THC. This becomes even more unsettling when considering that this matter only speaks to one state or very small demographic alone
The first exemplification of this nasty mess comes in the form of a Virginia resident by the name of Michael, to whom has experienced first-hand the type of legal inconveniences that are beginning to arise as a result of various police forces and laboratories lack competency, or knowledge, in being able to discern between the two substances. In short, Michael was detained during a police raid during a party where he was selling his CBD products in a place where others were selling marijuana. Michael told reporters, “I was shocked. I literally was like: Is this really happening right now?”
This comment issued by Michael, was largely due to the fact, that he knew his CBD based product, and as such was under the assumption that it should not yield a positive result in screening for THC, however, as indicated by his visceral reaction to his surprise this was not the case. When his product was tested alongside other substances containing THC, the result produced the fine royal purple color that is indicative of marijuana. Fortunately for Michael, while his inventory was confiscated by local police, he was able to circumvent his arrest after showing authorities a detailed ledger illustrating the content within his merchandise.
In likewise fashion, NBC Washington also tells of a local store owner by the name of Kyle Traugh who was subjected to a more pressing and severe treatment for his CBD inventory. Traugh, who owns a shop where he sells CBD Hemp Flowers was arrested in March for the inaccurate charge of felony distribution of marijuana.
According to reports, an undercover agent was tipped off about a possible case of marijuana distribution, which led him to Kyle’s store, where the agent purchased one of Kyle’s hemp flowers from a canister, and mistakenly made the assumption that it was marijuana. Investigators looking into the story have attempted to interview Kyle, but he has declined to make a statement, simply for the purpose to act in accordance with his unresolved legal situation. However, Kyle was more than willing to show the NBC news team his merchandise, which was clearly a CBD product.
Last month, NBC Washington 4 shed light onto a story of a similar nature, this time at the fourth largest airport in the country as found at Dallas – Fort Worth. Journalists Scott Friedman and Jack Douglas Jr. observed that the airport in question informed its passengers that they would confiscate all CBD products and that individuals would be detained under the circumstances that the same popular field as mentioned before contained even the slightest traces of THC, in a report entitled, Could Marijuana Field Tests Land CBD Users In Legal Trouble?
Friedman and Douglas go on to write how Texas, and more specifically the airport at Dallas- Fort Worth, has seen a staggering increase in the number of seizures made of CBD related substances, and disturbingly, in a select few instances, one tiny bottle of CBD oil has even led to additional occasions where individuals were arrested and charged with felony possession. Even the Dallas-Fort Worth customs port director issued a statement as to how drastically incriminating that the regulation is as he stated, “”So one single incident, one single small amount of CBD oil that you thought was cool to take on a trip with you, could result in life-changing effects for you.”
Continuing on their report of the matter, the two journalists observed eyebrow-raising situations such as an elderly 71-year-old woman who was immediately sent to jail on the charge of felony possession when she articulated that she had medicinal CBD on her person to treat symptoms of pain. As the number of seizures of CBD products has grown exponentially at Dallas, reports continue to come in of similar instances, such as that of an unnamed 22-year-old college student that was also arrested when his bag was checked, in which customs discovered a bottle of CBD hemp oil in his possession. If that in itself is not concerning enough, NBC 5 caught on camera a canine detection dog giving particular attention to a passenger’s carry on back, which led to the search of the personage in question, and another arrest upon the discovery of an CBD vape pen, that unsurprisingly yielded the same purple positive THC test.
As these reports file in, it becomes painstakingly obvious that there is a growing exigency or need for a new police force field test to test for THC in marijuana which will allow them to differentiate between the two similar molecules. Otherwise, in the case that they do not address this extremely concerning matter, the result is that across the state we will continue to see similar instances in which individuals lives our detrimentally impacted for the worse, with unwarranted criminal charges placed on them, all as a result of mistaking CBD from THC.
Leading the pack in navigating the difficult waters surrounding this problem is that of James Moody, an attorney of D.C. that specializes in cannabis regulations. When asked about this growing concern he issued the following statement:
“[The technology] is woefully behind the where it needs to be. Judges are being told that [a] product is being field tested and is coming back positive for THC, and that’s factually incorrect. They very well could be possessing nothing other than CBD, which is completely legal.
The reason that CBD is legal as compared to THC largely being done to the fact that while the two are structurally very similar molecules, CBD lacks the necessary properties that result in the high of the user, paired with the fact that there is less of a risk of individuals abusing the CBD. At any rate, it is clear that something has to be done to address this issue, or innocent citizens are going to be left with serious legal ramifications likened to those mentioned above, just to name a few.