Lab in Anoka County becomes first in Minnesota with THC test

The Midwest Regional Forensic Laboratory, which is housed at the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, is now the first forensic lab in the state with a validated method to determine the THC quantity of a plant or liquid sample.

In a release, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said the new method of testing began on March 25.

It's a significant development because industrial hemp is legal in Minnesota while marijuana isn't. State laws say industrial hemp isn't marijuana if the THC concentration is below 0.3%.

The sheriff's office said it's been difficult for law enforcement to determine if an item was from a hemp plant or a marijuana plant before the new test because the plants are the same species, and the rising popularity of hemp products has compounded the difficulties.

The test will now allow authorities to determine the percentage of TCH in plants or liquid extracts.

The sheriff's office said purity tests will only be done as needed for criminal charging purposes.