COEUR d’ALENE — Idaho State Police and other law enforcement agencies are on the prowl for a drug called THC-A.
THC-A is 99.997 percent pure THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets users high. THC-A is THC in its crystalline form.
ISP Capt. John Kempf told the Idaho Transportation Board on Thursday his agency expects to have more seizures of the product after it was found during a traffic stop in the Boise area in December. It was the first seizure of the drug in Idaho.
“It’s legally sold and commercially manufactured in California,” Kempf said. “Our trooper thought it was fentanyl (one of the strongest opiate drugs on the market) until it was taken to a lab.”
The seizure was about 2 pounds, the equivalent of 25 pounds of marijuana.
“It’s now being transported because the potency is so high,” Kempf said.
Kempf and Washington State Patrol Lt. Rob Sharpe briefed the transportation board on the Idaho impact of legalized marijuana in Washington, and other drug-related concerns on the streets. The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety funds police overtime pay on emphasis patrols during times of peak DUIs.
Kempf said in the three years since Oregon and Washington have legalized marijuana, ISP has seen a 109 percent increase in Idaho of drug recognition evaluations that showed impairment from marijuana.
During the same time, the agency has seen a 77 percent increase in significant (more than 1 pound) seizures. Idaho has seen a 56 percent increase in all marijuana seizures in the last two years.
ISP seized 1,209 pounds of marijuana in 2016 compared to 774 pounds in 2015.
“Our 2017 numbers have already surpassed the 2016 number and we haven’t even hit the harvest season yet,” Kempf said.
Other agencies, including Post Falls Police, have also seen a