Cannabis confusion over hemp, marijuana creates issues for Colorado law enforcement

Published: Aug. 24, 2019 at 11:30 AM MDT
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A Greeley woman is breathing much easier after drug charges against her were dropped. It’s an example of what’s becoming a more common case of confusion in Colorado involving two types of cannabis plants.

It was in May when a truck driving down Interstate 70 in Eagle County was stopped for a traffic violation. Megan Meyer was driving that truck and arrested on charges of transporting more than 100 pounds of pot.

She had been hired just a few days earlier by a CBD company to drive hemp from Colorado to Las Vegas.

“I’m being told $1 million fine, 30 years in prison, sitting there in your handcuffs thinking, ‘Oh my God,’” Meyer told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

The boxes in the truck were taken as evidence, along with a container of oil.

Meyer said, “Industrial hemp flowers like the product I was carrying looks a lot and smells like marijuana. The only way you can tell the difference is with analysis of the THC content.”

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants but hemp contains a much lower level of the psychoactive ingredient THC.

Hemp is now used to make CBD products. It was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Eagle district Attorney Bruce Brown says the charges are being dropped against Meyer after the evidence was tested.

“We did test some material of the plant that was seized from the vehicle she was driving and we determined that it appears to be hemp, not marijuana.”

He says since there is no roadside test, one alternative could be to give out a summons instead of taking the person into custody until the product being seized can be tested.

“Law enforcement officials are not in a good position when they make a stop of a car and detect the presence of plant material consistent with marijuana,” Brown added.

The 160 pounds of hemp seized will be now returned to the owner in a case of cannabis confusion, that is more than likely to happen again.

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