Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has announced that they will stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana possession cases for the time-being.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle made the announcement in a memo to law enforcement.

According to the memo, due to a new law that legalizes the possession and use of hemp in Florida, laboratory testing must be done to decipher between cannabis and hemp. The two appear to be similar, but hemp has a significantly lower amount of THC than cannabis.

“Because hemp and cannabis both come from the same plant, they look, smell and feel the same,” Rundle wrote in the memo. “There is no way to visually or microscopically distinguish hemp from marijuana.”

“Since every marijuana case will now require an expert, and necessitate a significant expenditure by the State of Florida, barring exceptional circumstances on a particular case, we will not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana possession cases,” Rundle added.

Rundle said that the Miami-Dade crime lab is currently does not have the capability to test for THC. However, that is anticipated to change in the next three to six months.

“Once the MDPD lab can again conduct such testing themselves, then this all becomes moot,” Rundle said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “This is just a stumbling block, and not a death knell to the prosecution of marijuana cases.”