From police to petty thieves, the year was rife with confusion over hemp and weed
Hemp and marijuana plants look and even smell the same. It’s no wonder people have been “tripping” over the two.
To add to the confusion, the United States government legalized hemp-derived CBD — but not all cannabis products — this year.
So, what sets them apart? The deciding factor lies in the concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the impairing compound found in the cannabis plant.
The concentration of THC in hemp plants is usually so low (0.3 per cent or less) that it’s considered non-impairing. Cannabis, on the other hand, contains THC concentration of more than 0.3 per cent.
Even with these clear guidelines, it’s still quite a challenge for even the most seasoned cannabis consumers to differentiate between the two.
And here’s a list to prove that.
Never count your chickens before they are hatched. A lesson New York police learned the hard way.
Acting on a tip from a FedEx employee, New York police arrested a person who arrived to pick up the legal drugs on behalf of the perfectly legal Green Angel CBD shop in Brooklyn. The drug bust took place in November, which was followed by Twitter praise of its officers on Twitter for their “relentless follow-up” and successful seizure of 106 pound shipment of… hemp.
“It’s all legal,” Buddy Koerner, a partner at Fox Holler Farms in Vermont who packaged the product himself, told MSN. “We did everything by the books.”
Police appeared unable to tell the difference between marijuana, which is illegal federally, and hemp, which contains only traces of THC and is now legal in the U.S.
“Genetically, it’s a very similar plant,” Dudley said. “I’m not blaming anyone for that. But the paperwork was there. We’ve had it all tested.”
Instead of high-grade cannabis, confused thieves in the U.S. have been reportedly stealing hemp.
In November, a Washington farmer said he lost tens of thousands of dollars to hemp bandits.
Matthew Morrell, who owns MM Hay Services, LLC, grows hemp crops to produce CBD oil. That CBD oil is then bought by CVS and Walgreens to place in their medications. In total, KOMO News reports, Morrell lost $70,000.
You read that correctly: When Dale Weed, a farmer in New York state, decided to start growing industrial hemp on his property, he had no idea his biggest issue would be trying to keep thieves away. The bandits are likely mistaking his crops for marijuana.
“You feel violated that people come here and steal from you when you’re trying to help a new industry get started that can help a lot of people,” he told WHAM-TV. “It’s alarming, the fact with no theft in 17 years, and now I’m being robbed every night.”
Weed said the robberies that used to involve 20 plants or so have escalated to the point where he often loses 100 at a time. He has been forced to hire guards and even recruit friends and family to keep a watchful eye over his fields.
All for a crop that thieves likely aren’t even interested in.
Hemp and marijuana are similar not only in appearance but also in odour, making it a challenge for sniffer dogs to do what they are best at — sniff it out and alert authorities.
In August, the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Columbus Division of Police told The Columbus Dispatch they are hereby suspending marijuana-detection training for drug-sniffing canines. This should eliminate any complications of “probable cause” for prosecutors pursuing drug convictions outside of marijuana.
Written by Anisha Dhiman