MIAMI – The Miami-Dade State Attorney's office will no longer prosecute minor cases involving marijuana, a report says.
Police will also now be required to confirm marijuana through lab tests in felony cases.
The decision was announced Thursday in a memo sent to law enforcement agencies. Smelling or observing suspected cannabis will no longer be sufficient to establish probable cause of actually being cannabis, according to the memo.
Hemp, which is similar to marijuana without THC, became legal in Florida in July.
Click below to read full State Attorney's office memo
“Because hemp and cannabis both come from the same plant, they look, smell and feel the same,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “There is no way to visually or microscopically distinguish hemp from marijuana.”
As there is currently no police crime lab in South Florida to test for THC, all marijuana prosecutions, both misdemeanor and felony, will be stopped until a lab is built within the next six months.
:In the meantime, if there are any DEA certified private labs that can perform such testing in significant cases, and the police departments are willing to pay for such testing, then the prosecution of these cases could move forward." says Fernandez Rundle. "Once the MDPD lab can again conduct such testing themselves, then this all becomes moot. This is just a stumbling block, and not a death knell to the prosecution of marijuana cases."