Michigan State Police (MSP) are not offering any comment or follow-up after halting blood tests for cannabis late last month after discovering false positives for THC in the protocols. In a statement following the initial report, Shanon Banner, manager of the Public Affairs Section for MSP said the agency was “immediately halting the processing of all THC blood samples” out of an “abundance of caution” as the agency worked “to learn more” or “institute another validated method of testing to ensure accuracy.”
On August 31, the agency halted the testing following an interview with MSP Toxicology Unit Supervisor Geoffrey French by freelance reporter Eric VanDussen in which French confirmed that his department’s testing for THC levels in blood samples was unreliable and that the MSP Forensic Science Division had been using the faulty testing process for more than 20 years.
Last week, MLive asked Banner for an update, to which she responded that the “August 31 statement is still the most current information” the agency has to share.
In the statement, MSP estimated that there are more than 3,000 cases that could be impacted by faulty THC blood tests but that any drug tests that confused CBD and THC prior to March 28, 2019, are moot because hemp remained outlawed in Michigan.
“CBD, which is structurally similar to THC, was illegal in Michigan until March 28, 2019,” state police said in the statement. “Since that date, however, CBD, which is reported to have no psychoactive properties, has been legal under Michigan law.”
Arthur J. Weiss, president of the Criminal Defense Lawyers of Michigan, told MLive that he is “troubled by the way this was rolled out and the lack of transparency and information that’s been given to us.”
“There have been a number of people in the defense community for years that have indicated the crime lab should be an agency and department independent of the Michigan state police, because we’re concerned about the potential institutional bias and wondering whether this is the type of situation that reinforces that belief,” he said.
Criminal defense attorney Michael Nichols told MLive he has been “calling this to the attention of judges all over the state” for years and he doesn’t believe the state police crime lab first learned about the problem last month. He theorizes that judges and juries have ignored the problem because “they want to make their criminal justice partners… happy.”
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