Does Switzerland Have the Answer to Cannabis Testing Confusion in the United States?

Texas legalized CBD oil in June, which presented a new issue for state law enforcement – how to distinguish CBD from other illegal cannabis products on a daily basis.

At first glance, CBD products are nearly indistinguishable from other cannabis products. However, the difference lies in the THC content. CBD is derived from the cannabis plant but contains a maximum of .3 percent THC, the chemical in cannabis that gets you high.

The tests currently available for law enforcement are only capable of determining whether there are cannabinoids in a product. To be fair, that is all law enforcement needed to know before June. If Cannabinoids were present, then a person was breaking the law. But now that the laws have changed, there is a very obvious need for a testing kit that will prevent people from going through the hassle of proving that they are not carrying an illegal substance.

In response to questions about enforcing the new CBD laws with the currently available testing technology, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said:

A drug test can’t do it, nor can a presumptive test[.] And so we can’t distinguish something legal from illegal, and that’s across the state.

The inability to distinguish an illegal substance from a legal one has created tension between District Attorneys and Governor Gregg Abbott. Specifically, district attorneys in several counties have announced that they will not prosecute misdemeanor marijuana charges due to the inability to efficiently test whether a person possesses a cannabis product with an illegal level of THC. In response, the Governor sent a letter stating:

[M]arijuana has not been decriminalized in Texas, and these actions demonstrate a misunderstanding of how H.B. 1325 works.

How do counties enforce the new law without access to proper testing technology?  Switzerland may have the answer to that problem. Scientists at the Zurich Forensic Science Institute have developed a testing kit that does what previously used kits are not equipped to do – test the level of THC in a product.

 The Swiss testing kits appear to be a relatively simple solution to a tricky problem. The test results in one of two ways: it turns a purpleish-pink when a higher concentration of CBD is present, and blue when a product contains a higher percentage of THC.

While it is unclear how precise the kits are, it is comforting to know that law enforcement will be one step closer to solving the cannabis testing confusion in the United States. In the meantime, it is important for Texas residents to be cognizant of the current limitations of product testing when making the decision to travel with CBD products. 


9 thoughts on “Does Switzerland Have the Answer to Cannabis Testing Confusion in the United States?”

  1. This is a serious issue. I know in Tarrant County alone, they had to dismiss hundreds of misdemeanor possession cases because they cannot test for THC accurately or it costs too much money. Maybe this swiss test could be the solution to their problem.

  2. This issue has had a lot of other problems besides dismissals on possession cases. Officers in Texas have raided CBD shops believing that they were seizing marihuana products, the Tenessee police chief didn’t know what CBD oil was, and in South Dakota a health food store selling CBD products ultimately, wasn’t prosecuted after a police raid confiscated $3,000 worth of CBD products.

  3. The issue of testing for cannabis has remained front and central for many years. I believe every consumer and every citizen should be in favor of developing a reliable testing procedure/device. I hope the Swiss continue to further explore their technology and its ability to test for cannabinoids.

  4. This was a really interesting read. I find it interesting that legislatures are having such a hard time determining the difference due to our vast advances in the scientific field. Hopefully they can implement the Swiss test and it will make things easier for them.

  5. I hope they are able to confirm the reliability of the Swiss test and utilize it in the U.S. soon. It’s crazy to think that our law enforcement doesn’t currently have an effective test that they can utilize to determine if someone is using something illegal or if it is just CBD.

  6. The kit that Switzerland has produced definitely sounds like the solution to the detection issue. It seems most like the method that is currently in place when law enforcement is testing other possible substances, which means it is fast, easy, and efficient. My only concern is how much the tests will cost and how easy production will be.

  7. This kit is definitely needed and I hope it is affordable enough for law enforcement officers, and accurate enough, as well.

  8. It is important that the scientists in Switzerland are able to continue developing the test kit and make it as accurate as possible. The kit is definitely needed with the current issue that Texas is currently facing. Hopefully it will be affordable enough for all law enforcement officials to have it available.

  9. I wonder how much those testing kits would cost law enforcement, but this looks like a positive step in helping Texas enforce their own laws. A dysfunctional law is never a positive thing.

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