GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Gwinnett County prosecutors will no longer prosecute cases of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside said police cannot scientifically tell the difference between marijuana and hemp because they don’t have the machines to test the plants. So, when marijuana possession cases make it to court, prosecutors have not been able to prove people are guilty.
“There is no verifiable scientific evidence that differentiates marijuana and hemp,” Whiteside told CBS46. “You cannot tell the difference.”
They're asking for all misdemeanor marijuana charges to be thrown out and for Gwinnett police to stop writing citations for them.
“We don't have time to deal with a backlog of cases that you cannot prosecute,” Whiteside said.
This is all in response to the new "The Georgia Hemp Farming Act" which allows licensed growers to produce hemp plants with THC. Hemp can only have .3% of THC or less to be legal in Georgia.
But police and prosecutors don't have the testing machines to confirm that a plant is marijuana in the first place, so they have struggled to win misdemeanor marijuana cases
“I ordered that all cases from when it was actually signed on May 10th, to present to be dismissed so if anyone is in jail strictly on that charge then most likely it would be up to the sheriff to dismiss them, to let them out,” Whiteside told CBS46.
“Those cases are going to be dismissed. I don't have the legal basis to hold them, scientifically,” he added.
Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling released the following statement:
"The new Hemp Law that recently went into effect, did not legalize the possession of marijuana. Therefore, my office will continue to review all marijuana cases individually in order to render an appropriate decision.
Marijuana charges are often submitted in conjunction with other charges, thus it is necessary to continue to review each case. However, at this time, we will not proceed with any single count marijuana cases occurring after the passage of this new la.
It is important to note that during my tenure and prior to the passage of this law, a number of our single count marijuana cases were processed through our successful diversion programs which affords the accused an opportunity to avoid prosecution. My office will continue to monitor these new developments and we remain ready to make any changes that may be necessary to best sever the interests of justice and service to the people of DeKalb."
So far, they've dismissed about 140 of those cases.