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The reason marijuana crimes may get ignored

Have you heard people say that marijuana is "accidentally legal" in Ohio? That's not technically true, but recent legal changes have created a lot of confusion and may even mean that some marijuana crimes get ignored by law enforcement.

What happened was Senate Bill 57, which became law in early August. It basically says that hemp is not illegal, opening it up for farming. It just has to have 0.3% THC or less. THC is the chemical that actually creates the "high" with marijuana. If it has more than the 0.3% threshold, then it's not hemp, but marijuana, and it's illegal.

In the face of it, the law makes sense. Low-THC hemp is a farming product, and illegal marijuana is still illegal.

However, there are a lot of issues. The law enforcement officers somehow have to officially distinguish between the two, which "is not possible for a human being to do."

The answer is to use a crime lab to run an official analysis. But that comes with more issues, even beyond tying the labs up for every minor marijuana charge. The lab has never had to measure the percentage of THC before, so all it is set up to do is find out if there is any THC or not. As such, both marijuana and hemp would test positive. Even the crime lab cannot determine if the person committed a crime or not. Some officials in the state have said they won't bother prosecuting as a result, at least not for now.

As you can see, this does not mean that marijuana is "accidentally legal," as some have suggested. But it's still crucial to know what the legal change means for you if you get arrested on drug charges.

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