Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says his office will no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, because current tests make it difficult to determine the exact amount of THC.
The percentage of the intoxicating chemical is what legally separates marijuana from hemp. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine last week signed SB 57, a bill legalizing hemp and the hemp-derived theraputic oil CBD. Hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC. In a letter issued Wednesday, Klein says:
"...our current drug testing technology is not able to differentiate, so we will not have the evidence to prosecute these cases.... Considering the substantial cost of new equipment and testing versus the possible benefit of prosecuting these often-dismissed cases, in addition to the recent ordinance passed by Columbus City Council, we plan on engaging in further discussions on whether to make this new policy permanent."
Columbus City Council voted in July to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Klein says his office will not dismiss charges accompanying misdemeanor possession unless there is a separate reason to. He notes that possession of marijuana is still illegal, and police can still stop and search someone on suspicion of possession.