U.S. Border Patrol looking for gear to test difference between outlawed marijuana and legal hemp

Since the passage of the Farm Bill, local law enforcement agencies have struggled to differentiate between weed and hemp-based products — and so, apparently, has the Border Patrol.

A Border Patrol officer's dog sniffs out marijuana — or is that hemp? - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
A Border Patrol officer's dog sniffs out marijuana — or is that hemp?
Apparently local cops and district attorneys aren't the only ones having a hard time telling the difference between cannabis and hemp.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) posted a notice seeking info on portable cannabis analyzers its agents could use to differentiate federally outlawed marijuana from hemp products, which became legal under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, according to news site Marijuana Moment.

CBP's notice was scant on specifics about its plans for the gear, the cannabis news agency reports. However, the solicitation says the agency wants the ability to "determine if suspect plant material or manufactured products contain cannabinoid-class chemicals and in what quantity."

The assumption is that Border Patrol agents would use the equipment in smuggling cases to determine whether leafy greens are illegal pot or legal hemp.

Since the passage of the Farm Bill, local law enforcement agencies have struggled to differentiate between weed and hemp-based products. In the six months after Texas legalized hemp, low-level pot prosecutions dropped by more than half due to the difficulty in telling the legal and illegal substances apart.

In 2020, Bexar County began sending suspected marijuana to its crime lab for testing, something enabled by a $100,000 equipment upgrade. However, Bexar's testing focus is on felony amounts of weed, not possession cases under four ounces. The county has a cite-and-release policy for low-level possession cases.

Stay on top of cannabis news and views. Sign up for our Weed Wire Newsletter.
Scroll to read more Cannabis News articles
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.