To fool a thief: Would-be weed robbers keep getting confused by hemp

To fool a thief: Would-be weed robbers keep getting confused by hemp

Courtesy of Siskiyou

In what has become one of the most ironic and unexpected twists of the industrial hemp growing economy, thieves continue to mistake hemp for marijuana plants.

Although examples of misled hemp thefts have occurred throughout the year, they have been a persistent theme of media coverage since the first legal harvest season of hemp this fall.

Teens looking for a free high or others who don’t fully understand the legal market for industrial hemp cultivation are likely culprits in the misguided thefts, because they rarely get what they bargain for.

Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp and CBD flower have been legal at the federal level in the U.S. since December 2018. CBD also doesn’t get its users high while still offering many of the benefits of marijuana, though it is sure to come as a let-down for criminals pilfering others’ property.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, products have exploded in popularity as people seek them for their anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and other problems. While solid scientific results on these benefits are pending, testimonials indicate that huge numbers of customers love their CBD.

Criminals, too, seem to love stealing CBD and hemp, even if they don’t know what they’re grabbing. This year’s harvest and inventory has been an opportunity for farmers all across the country to sum up just how much of their crop has been stolen away.

"They thought they stumbled upon the field of dreams," Ashleigh Baldwin, a hemp grower in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, told UPI. "It really does look, smell and feel a lot like marijuana.” [1]

UPI reports that hemp flower and marijuana plants are almost impossible to differentiate by sight or smell, so it is understandable that the confusion emerges. [1]

Some farmers who faced theft told the wire service the thefts were humorous, though for many the lost revenue from stolen yields was far from a laughing matter.

Of course, though thieves and trespassers aren’t the most renowned for their critical thinking, some farmers have become frustrated at the seemingly obvious ways that hemp differs from illegal marijuana yields.

"I guess I just assumed that people would realize that 400 acres of plants that were totally visible from the road wouldn't be marijuana," Will Weaver, a hemp grower in rural northern Indiana, told UPI. "I was wrong.” [1]

Weaver said he has $1.2 million invested in his hemp farm, and the losses of inventories are dead serious.

According to CNN, some farmers have even taken to posting signs warning that the crops will not get thieves high after losing thousands to thieves and trespassers. [2]