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How Accurate Are The Drug Test Kits That Law Enforcement Use To Prove A Substance Is Marijuana?

drug test kit narcopouch marijuana

(image via wikipedia)

I posted an article yesterday about the case of Robert and Addie Harte. The Hartes had their home SWAT raided after police determined that they were illegal growing marijuana in their home. That determination by law enforcement was based on just two things. The first is that Robert Harte was seen buying grow equipment from an indoor garden store (for growing tomatoes). The other was that when cops went through the family’s trash can, they found what they thought to be wet marijuana plant material.

The plant material was tested with a field drug test kit, which returned a positive result for marijuana. Those two factors alone were enough to result in a SWAT raid on the family’s home, and guns being pointed at Robert and his wife’s children. A much more accurate lab test on the plant material returned the following result, per KansasCity.Com:

They conducted a field test on the material, and it tested positive for marijuana, according to the lawsuit.

A lab test done 10 days after the raid and again four months later found that the leafy material was not marijuana.

“It does not look anything like marijuana leaves or stems,” the lab report said.

The Hartes filed a lawsuit, but unfortunately a federal judge ruled that the cops didn’t do anything wrong. That’s incredibly disheartening considering that it has been known since as far back as 2009 that the exact tests used in the Harte case return false positive results at a rate as high as 70%. It was actually probably known even farther back than that, but for sure in 2009 law enforcement knew the tests they were using often returned bogus results. Below is a press conference that was held in 2009. You will recognize the legendary cannabis activist Adam Eidinger in the video. Adam was the head of the successful 2014 Washington D.C. legalization campaign:

To answer the question posed in the title of this article, drug test kits used by law enforcement for field drug substance tests are not that accurate. They are so inaccurate that in no way, shape, or form should they be used against someone during the course of an investigation, and definitely shouldn’t be able to be admitted as evidence in a legal proceeding that would result in a person losing their freedom. Sadly, the drug test kits are still in use, and according to at least one federal judge, there’s nothing wrong with cops using them, even when it results in a harmful SWAT raid on an innocent family. If a cop wants the test to be positive, they will likely get the result that they want simply by testing and re-testing the substance until it comes back with the desired result.


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Johnny Green


  1. PeedNUrGenePool on

    Current law says that whatever police do, they get away with it. They can lie, cheat, steal, lie on the stand, even murder people by shooting them in the back and destroy the evidence.
    If the police use a test that always comes back positive, they can always testify that the test came back positive.
    And the Judges don’t care…they effectively gave permission to use a fraudulent test and admit it as evidence.
    Our entire Justice System has given up on ‘justice’.

  2. This makes about as much sense as drug dogs that give “cues” that only their handler can interpret. It is basically an easy way to deny people their rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

  3. Cannabis Clubs on

    This is a joke! I can’t believe that police officers would raid someones home when they are not sure about what they are even looking at.There should be many more steps prior to breaking someones door down and cuffing them. And for the mistake to go unpunished is mind boggling. There needs to be a new law in place for mistakes like this.

  4. 70% failure rate, wow. Sounds like a good case for a lawsuit against the “test kit” manufacturer. Their kit failed – resulting in your lost year, humiliation – pain and suffering.

  5. i was locked up on felony charges after an illegal raid on my home by LAPD that found a single jar in a locked cabinet containing two ounces of tincture). They claimed they did onsite test & it tested positive for butane (thus making it an illegal concentrate). Independent expert & later LAPD testing showed it in fact had no butane, because it was, in fact, tincture (smelled like it, looked like it). thanks for ruining my life for a year!

  6. Not only would I call thus corporate bullshit, for selling faulty test. (No figure ). But this is also on police departments nation wide. On top of that the judges that allow this to go on.our entire judicial system needs to be fixed.

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