Michigan State Police stops marijuana blood testing over accuracy concerns with results

Posted at 3:40 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 23:14:32-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division announced Friday it has temporarily stopped marijuana blood testing due to an issue discovered with the accuracy of toxicology blood screens for marijuana testing.

“The MSP Forensic Science Division is examining a discrepancy discovered earlier this week in THC blood testing results in which the presence of CBD in a blood sample may have led to a positive result for THC,” MSP spokesperson Shanon Banner said in an email on Friday.

“Out of an abundance of caution (MSP) today notified the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan that we are immediately halting the processing of all THC blood samples as we work to learn more and/or until we can institute another validated method of testing to ensure accuracy.”

While both CBD and THC can be found in marijuana, CBD is not a controlled substance and does not induce a high. THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, does induce a high. MSP says the test is unable to recognize the difference between THC and CBD - potentially resulting in positive drug test results for non-THC users.

“We were alerted by the MSP Crime Lab that there is likely an issue with toxicology screens for blood tests for marijuana results,” Cheri L. Bruinsma, Executive Director of Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council Michigan, said Thursday in an email sent to prosecutors across the state.

“They very recently learned that the test is unable to distinguish between THC and CBD. They are working to understand the issue and scope of the problem. They expect to have additional information in the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you have a case that relies on a THC toxicology screening, you should not rely on that result.”

The discrepancy could have a major impact current or previous criminal cases. Currently, MSP is working to understand the testing issue and scope of the problem. Additional information will be available in the next few weeks.

Local attorney Michael Komorn says he’s been fighting the state lab about many of his clients' THC blood test results for years.

"It's problematic. It goes back a long way. We don't know yet the impact of of how many cases it's going to affect," said Michael Komorn, local attorney. "There's people sitting in jail right now for driving offenses that they were convicted of, where prosecutors stood up in the courtroom and used that lab report to put the hammer down and convict that particular person."

Prosecutor Kym Worthy is taking action to notify the courts and inform the community.

“I was recently notified of the issue that MSP is having with their test being unable to distinguish between THC and CBD.  As a result, I have notified my entire staff, the Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) and the President of the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar in Wayne County. Presiding Judge Timothy Kenny and Presiding Judge Prentis Edwards of the Criminal Division have been contacted.  I have also, notified the 36th District Court Chief Judge William McConico and Presiding Judge Kenneth King. The other county courts will also be notified.  I have done this because It is important for everyone that could possibly be affected by this to be informed,” said Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

MSP says, If you have a case that relies on THC toxicology screening, MSP says the result is not reliable.

If you have questions regarding your result, MSP asks that you contact the lab by calling 313-962-7878.