Crime Lab Says Pot Law Jeopardizes Prosecutions - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Crime Lab Says Pot Law Jeopardizes Prosecutions

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SEATTLE, Wash. - Prosecutors and crime lab scientists say the legislature needs to fix the state's new marijuana law after they noticed a provision they say jeopardizes their ability to go after any pot crimes at all. 

The problem stems from a part of the law meant to distinguish marijuana from industrial hemp, which is grown for its fiber. The law defines marijuana as having more than 0.3 percent of a certain intoxicating compound, called delta-9 THC. 

Scientists at the state crime lab say that often, even potent marijuana can have less than 0.3 percent - it's only when heated or burned that another compound turns into delta-9 THC. 

According to prosecutors, that means if people get caught with more than an ounce of marijuana, or if police raid illicit grow operations, prosecutors might not be able to prove the plants or material seized meets the definition of marijuana.

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