Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Hemp farmers dealing with increased theft

Hemp farmers are running into an increasing problem: crop theft. Hemp and marijuana are physically identical, except marijuana has more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol. But thieves are apparently unaware of that, so many hemp farmers are now forced to consider increased security measures. "Cannabis thefts have been reported in York, Pennsylvania; Clarksville, Tennessee; Georgia, Vermont; Edgecombe County, North Carolina; and many more," Dan Nosowitz reports for Modern Farmer.

James Jenkins, who grows 525 acres of hemp near Bowling Green, Kentucky, said he's installing cameras and will eventually hire armed guards. Theft has become such a problem that he's offering a reward for the capture and prosecution of anyone caught trying to steal his hemp, Trey Crumbie reports for The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown.

"They can smoke the whole ... farm and can’t get nothing out of it," an exasperated Jenkins told Crumbie.

The thefts are not just misguided, but also a huge financial hit for farmers. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, hemp farmers Crysta and Brendan Stehman recently suffered the loss of nine large hemp plants worth $1,000 apiece. Thieves also fully or partially damaged another 28 plants, Carter Walker reports for Lancaster Online.

On the day of the theft, the Stehmans encountered three teenage males on their property whom they believe stole the plants. The couple are "investing in new security and will be keeping a close eye on their crops until harvest in a few weeks. They hope their story will help other farmers be aware of the risk of theft," Walker reports.

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