Field test kits for police to help distinguish illegal marijuana from legal industrial hemp — both cannabis plants — will be distributed to departments across Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science notified law enforcement agencies last month that 16,150 kits have been purchased for $97,500 using a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

The two plants look and smell the same. But cannabis that has a level of THC — the chemical that produces a high — of 0.3% or less is now legal in the possession of growers, dealers and processors who are registered with the state government.

The Duquenois-Levine field test that previously was widely used by police to identify cannabis will still be used to determine if suspect material is cannabis.

If so, then the new test kit, dubbed 4-AP, will be used to indicate if it is marijuana, requiring further testing. A video produced by the…

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