ACCPD Statement Regarding Marijuana Possession Charges
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has issued a statement regarding temporary changes in procedures regarding Marijuana possession charges. According to the statement: As a result of unanticipated consequences of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, the department has provided new direction in handling marijuana cases. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the measure into law on May 10, 2019.
Possession of hemp is now legal, however, it is nearly identical to marijuana, except it has a lower percentage of THC-.3% or less compared to higher concentrations found in marijuana.
Current tests us by the GBI crime lab and the ACCPD, only detect for the presence of THC and not the potency. That means the tests can’t distinguish between legal hemp and illegal marijuana; and they cannot be used to prosecute marijuana cases.
The GBI expects to have update testing equipment in place by early September that will test for potency. Until the new equipment is in place, Athens officers will stop making physical arrests or issuing summons for marijuana charges.
Instead they will seize the suspected marijuana, place it into evidence and will write a police report. Once tested by the GBI and ACCPD using the updated equipment, officers will pursue warrants where the evidence shows more than .3% THC.
“The ACCPD is working closely with the GBI, our District Attorney, and the ACC Solicitor General to monitor this situation, as well as to identify and implement solutions,” said ACCPD Chief of Police Cleveland Spruill. “We hope that viable alternative testing equipment can be acquired and put in place for use by our officers relatively soon.”
The statement says the ACCPD will continue to enforce the state’s marijuana laws.