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Growing popularity in hemp is proving to be a challenge for law enforcement

Testing and distinguishing between hemp and marijuana is becoming a challenge for local and state law enforcement as hemp farming begins to boom.

As of Feb. 20, 2019 the Tennessee Agriculture Department received more than 3,000 license applications to grow hemp, that's up from 200 to 300 last year. 

The reason?  Well, the Farm Bill signed into law late last year by President Donald Trump makes it legal across the country, so demand is way up!

The Chief of Police in Knoxville said the booming industry makes officers' jobs more difficult because it's so difficult to differentiate between hemp and weed. 

Ben Cort is the author of the book 'Weed Inc.' and is against legalizing marijuana. He also agrees that more hemp means more obstacles for law enforcement

"The problem that you have for hemp is that it makes it a nightmare for law enforcement because it's very difficult to separate out illegal high potency marijuana from hemp that may be grown in the same field," Cort said. 

The complications aren't just at the city level. The Tennessee Department of Investigation said they don't even have the resources for testing. 

"TBI does not currently have the capability to quantitatively determine the THC level in plant material, and therefore, does not have the capability to differentiate between hemp and marijuana, but we're working on it," they said.

The TBI said it doesn't have resources to test THC levels because they weren't provided any extra funding when hemp became legal.

However, they have secured funding to purchase one instrument to perform this testing and hope to begin testing soon.