Researchers from Texas A&M say they have found a quick, cheap, and accurate way for law enforcement agents to differentiate pot and hemp – using lasers.
In a study released last month, Texas AgriLife researchers Dmitry Kurouski and Lee Sanchez claim their new laser testing method is a better way for law enforcement to figure out whether a substance they've seized is cannabis or non-psychoactive hemp.
Lasers, how do they work?
Put simply, a laser from a spectrometer hits a substance and then maps it out on graph. A substance without THC maps differently than one that contains it, providing a near-instant readout of whether a substance violates the state ban on substances with more than 0.3%-concentration of THC or whether it's legal hemp.
Kurouski says the device, which is about the size of a lunchbox, could be used by law enforcement with astounding accuracy during traffic stops or at crime scenes.
"The accuracy is 100%," he said. "[Meaning] we can differentiate between hemp and cannabis, and that's really remarkable."
Kurouski says the scanner could also identify different strains of cannabis.
The device could help hemp-growers who may be hassled by law enforcement, he said, citing an Amarillo case in which a man was arrested for hauling marijuana then was let go when his cargo proved to be hemp in lab tests.
Even in the best case scenario, his experimental laser scanner is at least a few years away from field use, Kurouski says. Sounds cool, for non-police uses even. I'd want one that is capable of sniffing out various strains, absolutely!