BCI implements quantitative analysis of marijuana

(Posted April 30, 2020)

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), headquartered in London, has implemented the quantitative analysis of marijuana in drug evidence seized by law enforcement.

“BCI’s new ability to differentiate between marijuana and hemp creates a valuable resource for officers who depend on our laboratory services, offered at no cost to them,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

BCI has completed the validation of new instrumental methods for cannabis vegetation and oils, meeting new legal requirements recently established by Senate Bill 57. The quantitative analysis of a sample determines the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

Senate Bill 57 changed the Ohio Revised Code definition of marijuana to exclude hemp, defined as cannabis containing not more than 0.3 percent THC as calculated on the dried weight. With this definition change, marijuana could no longer be identified conclusively with past techniques, such as microscopic examination and chemical color testing.

“Ohio prosecutors are very appreciative of the hard work that Attorney General Yost and BCI have done to bring this critical testing capability to Ohio,” said Louis Tobin, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

“Since the legalization of hemp last summer, law enforcement has struggled to enforce Ohio marijuana laws due to an inability to distinguish between marijuana and hemp. Expensive private testing was often the only solution… (Now) Ohio prosecutors will be better able to enforce our drug laws and protect Ohioans.”

Soon after the bill became law, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office offered grant funding for law enforcement agencies to test suspected marijuana at other accredited laboratories until BCI could modify its testing techniques. Law enforcement agencies received $3,972 in grant funding to test samples in eight cases tied to more than 20 felony charges.

BCI is pursuing additional validation studies for quantitative testing of other THC-infused food products.

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