MURFREESBORO, TN — The nearly two dozen stores padlocked as part of “Operation Candy Crush” are in the clear after the district attorney dropped all charges following the controversial raids.
District Attorney General Jennings Jones openly blamed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for dropping the proverbial ball.
“The District Attorney’s office initiated actions to enforce the law in this case because the TBI assured us that the items being sold at various businesses in Rutherford County were infused with illegal controlled substances,” Jones said in a press release Wednesday. “It is the duty of all law enforcement to prevent the sale of controlled substances.”
In an interview with the Daily News Journal, Jones said the TBI was no longer willing to testify that the items being sold at the stores across the county in fact contained illegal marijuana derivatives.
The TBI fired back with a statement of its own.
“In this matter, it is inaccurate for the local stakeholders in these cases to assert they made decisions in this case unaware of the limits of our forensic work. The role of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in laboratory analysis is to objectively analyze submitted evidence. We make no determination of the legality of situations involving the evidence we examine, and, in fact, our Forensic Scientists are rarely aware of the circumstances involving the evidence submitted for analysis,” the bureau wrote.
At issue is whether the cannadbidiol in the items being sold at the Rutherford County stores was derived from marijuana or from industrial hemp; were it the latter, it would be legal.
“In the midst of this process, we clearly explained – in detail – the limitations of our analysis to all stakeholders. We did so to ensure they fully knew that, though we could identify CBD, we were not able to identify its origin,” the TBI wrote. “The circumstances of the possession or transfer – as determined by the local law enforcement agency and interpreted by the District Attorney General – make something ‘illegal.’
“Again, to be clear: TBI lab reports objectively determine the compound present, but in no way are statements of compound origin, circumstances of possession, or guilt or innocence. Though we identified the substance and the relevant schedule, we made no determination about the legality of the substance or the circumstance in Rutherford County. That was a decision solely made — as in all cases — by the local agency and District Attorney General.”
Jones filed the motion to dismiss the charges Wednesday.
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