New laws on hemp and marijuana is not stopping the Grimes County District Attorney’s office from prosecuting cases, according to a release from Grimes County DA Andria Bender.
House Bill 1325 went into effect on June 10th, which legalized hemp with a concentration of no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. What this means for prosecutors is they have to now prove beyond reasonable doubt that marijuana has a THC content greater than 0.3 percent in order to differentiate it from legal hemp.
Proof must now be established by scientific analysis of the quantity of THC. Before, proof could be established by the officer identifying it as marijuana. Visual identification is now no longer enough.
Currently, Texas DPS does not have equipment or protocol to determine THC level. And with passage of the bill, no additional funding was given to the DPS to purchase the equipment necessary to do so.
Due to this, some Texas prosecutors have implemented policies either refusing or limiting the acceptance of possession of marijuana cases in the court system. DA Andria Bender says Grimes County will continue to accept and prosecute the crimes.
Bender said in the release she will be in contact with lawmakers about funding for necessary testing equipment. She also said “while I am your district attorney, there will be no de facto legalization of marijuana in Grimes County, as long as marijuana remains illegal in the State of Texas.”