Sirchie LLC has announced the launch of its new NARK II Hemp / CBD Screening Test. This is a presumptive field test that will enable law enforcement to test a suspect unknown plant or oil substance to determine whether it contains suspect low levels of THC and is legal hemp/CBD (cannabidiol), or contains suspect high levels of THC, is most likely an illegal substance, and merits further testing. This new screening test will help law enforcement eliminate the hassle, embarrassment and time spent booking/arresting someone for possession of legal hemp or CBD products.
The need to distinguish between marijuana and hemp began with the passage of the H.R. 2 Agriculture Improvement Act, signed into law by President Trump in 2018. Often referred to as the Farm Bill, it removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (1970) and provided protections for the interstate commerce of hemp. For the first time since 1970, it is now legal to grow, sell, manufacture, and transport hemp and hemp derived products that contain low levels of THC.
Currently, law enforcement cannot easily tell the difference between legal hemp and illegal marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are from the same plant family. They look, smell and feel the same, and even under a microscope, it's almost humanly impossible to tell the two products apart. The only distinguishable difference between legal hemp and illegal marijuana is the amount of THC they contain. The new law defines hemp and hemp products as those that contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, as opposed to marijuana products, which typically contain between 5-30% THC.
Historically, law enforcement has relied on qualitative presumptive field tests, like the Duquenois-Levine Reagent, to test for any presence of THC. Before the passage of the Farm Bill, hemp was just as illegal as marijuana, and they could use these tests on any suspicious plant or oil substance. If it tested positive for THC, and they had other evidence that indicated the substance was illegal, they established probable cause and therefore could arrest and confiscate the substance. But now, with the legalization of hemp, law enforcement required a quantitative test that would enable them to distinguish levels of THC in an unknown plant or oil substance encountered in the field.
"Our new Hemp / CBD Screening Test distinguishes between suspect low levels of THC that are associated with hemp and suspect high levels of THC associated with marijuana, typically containing 5% or more THC. While this test is not a quantitative test that can identify the exact amount of THC present in a substance, it is a useful tool to screen for potentially legal and illegal levels of THC. And is the first step in a protocol meant to assist law enforcement in identifying these substances in the field," said Dyer Bennett, Vice President of Product Development and Training for Sirchie.
Since the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, officers across the country have struggled to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. There are many stories of police arresting people for possession of what ends up being legal hemp, not marijuana. These stories illustrate the confusion that has ensued since the legalization of hemp, and the embarrassment to the officers involved and their department when individuals are mistakenly arrested for legal possession and/or transportation of hemp or CBD products. In addition, booking/arresting people for hemp takes up valuable law enforcement time, is a hassle for all parties involved, and creates the possibility for potential litigation.
"Sirchie has the best-selling controlled substance presumptive field tests available in the market, and it was very important to us to offer a solution to the problems law enforcement is facing with the legalization of hemp through our NARK II product line," said Sirchie President and CEO John Roby. "Our new Hemp / CBD Screening Test works just like our other NARK II products, which are very familiar to law enforcement. We know it is going to help officers in the field screen out legal hemp, and save them the headaches that come with arresting people for possession of hemp/CBD products that are now legal. We also understand costs for law enforcement, so we priced it similarly to our other NARK II product, unlike some competitors that priced their product at three times the cost of ours."
This newest addition to Sirchie's best-selling NARK II Product Line of narcotics presumptive field tests works the same way that the company's other NARK II tests work. It uses reagent-based wet chemistry, in a pouch structure with ampoules and color change as indicator. All NARK II presumptive field tests are based on proven reagents specified by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) and the United Nations for the presumptive testing of controlled substances. All presumptive narcotics field test results are considered presumptive and should always be confirmed by an accepted analytical laboratory.
NARK II Hemp/CBD Detection Tests are sold in boxes of 10.