TBI special agent says there are still concerns with hemp
Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Division for the TBI, Tommy Farmer, says while the growth of hemp is legal in Tennessee, it still looks and smells like marijuana, making it difficult for law enforcement to distinguish without testing the product.
"You open the door with the transfer of these products and you can't tell the difference between marijuana, high grade marijuana, and low grade THC cannabis, hemp," said Farmer.
Farmer says he's seen thefts, vandalism, assaults, and aggravated assaults related to hemp.
"People are going in and stealing these products and then selling these products because they look like it, they act like it, but it looks just the same, it may not have the THC concentration but there is no way that you could tell the difference, by looking at it," said Farmer.
The Tennessee Department of Health also issued a public health advisory on Hemp in 2018, warning people about the risk associated with products derived from cannabis, marijuana, and hemp that claim to benefit health.
READ MORE | The business of hemp in the state of Tennessee
In the advisory it states that there are a limited number of conditions where there is a substantial and conclusive evidence for using cannabis-derived products as medicine.
"Any use of those products for that recommendation for food, dietary supplements or medicine that is unapproved by the FDA, we're cautious about," said Farmer.
The Tennessee Department of Health states that there are three prescription cannabis based products that are approved by the FDA and available to Tennesseans:
FDA-approved medications that are derived from Cannabis are already available to Tennesseans and
available by prescription for patients under the care of a health care provider. These include:
a. Cannabidiol (Epidiolex®)10
b. Dronabinol (Marinol® and Syndros®)11
c. Nabilone (Cesamet®)12
Farmer says if it's not regulated by the FDA, people should ask questions about the product they're purchasing.
"Know the source, know and ask questions about is it approved for this?," said Farmer.