Richmond, Va.—The Virginia Dept. of Forensic Science (DFS) has announced that it will no longer test marijuana samples in simple possession cases unless ordered to do so by the court. According to a memo issued by DFS Director Linda Jackson, the agency will test plant material only by court order or if field test results are inconclusive. Director Jackson notes that a defendant in a criminal trial has the right to request a full chemical analysis, and DFS will perform an analysis if the court orders it. The new policy became effective January 1.
Director Jackson states that the policy change is necessary to best manage the agency’s limited resources. DFS had been receiving a large number of requests for testing in simple possession cases, and the policy change will allow the agency to improve turnaround times for controlled substance testing. It also will reduce the amount of overtime needed to manage the agency’s caseload.