Throughout Texas, drug testing labs partner with law enforcement agencies. These state-of-the-art facilities receive suspected illegal substances, often confirming their contents for upcoming criminal cases. Unfortunately, these already busy labs could soon face shorter deadlines.
Ever-changing drug laws
Recently, Texas passed legislation to legalize hemp. It also clarified this state’s legal definition of marijuana, labeling any cannabis with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). If hemp contains more than 0.3% of THC, Texas law defines it as marijuana. In the past, testing labs in this state only needed to detect the presence of cannabinoids. However, this new ruling requires more extensive testing that could affect a lab’s full workload.
Texas is also facing confusion regarding delta-8. Delta-8 also comes from the cannabis plant, specifically sativa plants. In 2021, the Texas Department of Public Health attempted to strike down delta-8 products as illegal substances. While these efforts didn’t pass, many people wonder why delta-8 wasn’t mentioned in this state’s recent hemp-related legislation and ruling.
The realities for drug testing labs after legislative changes
It’s understandable to assume that it’s business as usual for drug testing labs in Texas. However, many legislative-related changes also require labs to modify their procedures. For instance, one legislative change regarding drug charges or classifications often requires labs to change how they conduct work. One lawmaker proposes a rule requiring laboratories to test all substances if they suspect fentanyl is present, an order that could back up urgent lab cases for long periods.
Drug testing labs in Texas are under pressure amid changing drug laws and steadily increasing workloads. These labs often have to retrain employees, implement new procedures and complete time-consuming tasks when laws change. This situation is even worse for labs facing labor shortages.