Illegal marijuana or legal hemp? Ohio AG Dave Yost offers law enforcement help to tell the difference

Cleveland.com | Jeremy Pelzer

Amid worries over how Ohio’s new legalized hemp lawwill affect authorities’ ability to prosecute marijuana traffickers, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Tuesday his office is working to help local law-enforcement test levels of THC found in confiscated cannabis.

Yost, a Columbus-area Republican, said during a Tuesday news conference that by the end of the year, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will have three machines in place so local law enforcement can, for free, conduct measurements of THC, the substance in marijuana that gets you high.

The testing machines, which cost about $50,000 each, are being paid for with money allocated in the state’s new two-year budget, the AG said.

Until the machines are ready to go, Yost said his office has set aside an additional $50,000 to reimburse local authorities for the cost of having THC testing done at a private lab, which can cost up to $600 per test.

Yost said his announcement is meant to rebut media reports that Ohio’s new hemp law effectively legalizes marijuana in the state because authorities don’t have the testing equipment needed to prove whether cannabis found on a person is illegal marijuana or legal hemp.

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