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Hemp is identical to marijuana, minus the THC, but dogs and cops can’t smell a difference. That means Florida prosecutors are instructing police to change when they can search people for probable cause, and some are dropping marijuana charges wholesale.

new hemp law in Florida has forced prosecutors across the state to toss marijuana convictions, forced police to rethink when they can search suspects and may lead to the retirements of some drug-sniffing dogs.

The law, which made the possession of hemp legal on July 1, has forced law enforcement agencies to adapt to a substance that is nearly identical to cannabis, albeit without the psychoactive THC that makes marijuana alluring.

The Florida Times-Union reached out to all 20 state attorneys to ask them how the new hemp law will affect probable-cause searches, prosecutions and related issues. Twelve responded. All said this will affect the prosecution of marijuana in one way or another, and seven explicitly said this changes the probable-cause standard for police who have previously used the sight and smell of marijuana to search potential suspects.

Some also said this means that drug-sniffing dogs, who have been trained to bark when they smell any drug whether it’s marijuana or something more serious, are now obsolete. [Read more at The Florida Times-Union]


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