Hemp Theft on the Rise in the US
Hemp farmers in the US are facing a lot more than your average harvest season challenges. They are under attack by a new kind of infestation — the one that walks on two legs and is sometimes armed. Seeing how the plants are now fully grown and ready for harvest, hemp thieves have been targeting farms on a daily basis.
Three incidents have been reported in Fresno, California, including one where a group of 20 people raided a farm that was previously robbed a week earlier. A farmer in Brunswick County had his crops hit four times over the course of nine days.
Authorities in Plainfield, Illinois, arrested three suspects and also charged the owner of the farm with reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct. In this case, the farmer was the one who held the thieves at gunpoint. Four people were arrested in Maryland, and six were charged with attempted theft of hemp plants in Michigan. More thefts have been reported in Vermont, Indiana, and Texas; the list is quite extensive.
Farmers are not only upset that all of their hard work is going to waste, but also concerned about the increasing use of firearms during robberies, which could end in injuries and casualties on both sides.
Worst still is the fact that all the financial damage and stress caused to farmers might be for nothing. Most of the hemp stolen is used for food and fiber applications and has no recreational value whatsoever.
So, are hemp thieves misinformed, or just plain clueless? Are they trying to peddle hemp as marijuana to unknowing buyers? Perhaps they’re just in it for the CBD, which has some market value, but is still non-intoxicating and thus not worth the trouble, financially.
The good news is that the police are indeed making arrests. Hopefully, this, combined with some better education regarding the differences between hemp and marijuana, will deter thieves from hitting hemp crops in the future.