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Forensic Scientists Say State Police Gave In To Political Pressure With Crime Lab Policy

Jan 18, 2016

A new State Police crime lab policy is sparking criticism from a growing number of forensic scientists.


A number of forensic scientists say a new Michigan State Police crime lab policy is leading to unfair criminal charges. The policy says lab reports should not list the origin of THC in marijuana products unless there’s visible plant material in the sample. That allows prosecutors to argue in court that the substance is synthetic THC – which carries heavier penalties than plant-based pot products.

A professor emeritus of Forensic Science at Michigan State University, Jay Siegel believes the policy change is the result of political pressure to target medical marijuana patients.

“And if that’s the case, that’s deplorable. All the things I ever taught those students was that you have to be a scientist here. You have to be true to the science and not the political or any other kind of pressure.”

The Michigan State Police says the policy change was needed to create consistency between crime labs across the state. 

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— Jake Neher is the State Capitol Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network. Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org