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Miami-Dade Won’t Prosecute Minor Pot Cases. And Cops Can’t Act On A Sniff Test Alone

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C.M. GUERRERO
/
MIAMI HERALD
A flowering marijuana plant in the production room of Modern Health Concepts greenhouse in Southwest Miami Dade.

In a significant policy change spurred by new Florida law, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office announced it will no longer prosecute minor marijuana cases. And for amounts large enough for felony charges, police will now be required to get lab tests to confirm that marijuana is, well, actually marijuana.

Prosecutors announced the decisions on Friday in response to a new Florida law that legalized hemp, a plant very similar to marijuana but with only trace amounts of the cannabis chemical that gets users high. The decision was outlined in a three-page memo sent this week to police agencies in Miami-Dade County that also mandates more than just a funny smell for cops to stop suspects.

“Because hemp and cannabis both come from the same plant, they look, smell and feel the same,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle wrote in explaining the decision. “There is no way to visually or microscopically distinguish hemp from marijuana.”

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.