It appears these would-be marijuana thieves weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Not only were they busted, but the plants they were attempting to rip off were in fact industrial hemp.
As industrial hemp increasingly appears in fields across the USA, so too are instances of theft; even though it looks quite different to marijuana. Industrial hemp (pictured above) is usually cultivated in very high densities and grown up, not out as is the case with marijuana. It is also far lower in the psychoactive compound THC, giving it zero recreational value.
You would think in a state such as Oregon, where it’s legal for adults 21 and older to possess and use recreational marijuana, anyone with any association with it (recreational or medicinal) would be able to tell the difference between the two plants. Not so in the case of a 31 year-old Redmond man and his female accomplice reports The Bulletin.
Earlier this week, police were called by a hemp farmer who stated he was holding two trespassers at gunpoint after finding them on his farm. The pair had apparently mistaken the hemp for marijuana and the man had threatened the farmer with an unspecified weapon when confronted. The two took flight before police arrived, but the man was apprehended shortly afterwards; however, not before he had crashed into the property owners’ vehicles. The woman remained at large at the time the article was published.
While it’s easy to laugh at this ill-informed pair’s antics and the fate that awaits them, the frightening thing is this could have turned out much worse – someone could have been killed. Also, pity the poor farmer who is engaged in a legal activity – this is likely something he wouldn’t face working with another crop.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. We reported in October industrial hemp theft has been getting violent – and all over a plant that would have no value to the thieves. Farmers have enough to contend with as it is without having to worry about such things.
Hopefully as a result of recent signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law, which legalizes industrial hemp, the crop will become an even more common sight in the USA – with potential thieves finally learning how to identify it and realising stealing it just isn’t worth the hassle, or the potential consequences.