Hemp plants have been disappearing from Ralph Weed's farm in upstate New York. Just last week, two men were arrested after plucking 30 of his plants, state troopers said. But the thieves might be laboring under a misconception, the Times of Wayne County reports. Despite looking and smelling alike, marijuana plants and the hemp plants Weed grows are different. "You could smoke a telephone pole of this and it wouldn’t get you high," the farmer said. Hemp has just a bit of THC—less than 0.3%—which gives marijuana its high. Demand for hemp is growing because CBD can be extracted from it, as well as from marijuana plants, and some people say CBD helps with their chronic pain, depression, addiction, and even helps calm their anxious pets. Hemp sales are way up. That's why Weed started growing industrial hemp earlier this year.
But holding onto it has become challenging. Somebody posted photos of his plants, which did look like marijuana, on social media sites, and the thefts started last month. Weed has lost tens of thousands of dollars, he said. In 17 years of farming there, he said, he'd had no thefts, per WHAM. "Now I’m being robbed every night," Weed said. Pickup trucks have stopped along the road long enough for thieves to toss the plants in the back. Weed has hired guards to watch his fields, and police have increased patrols near his Savannah farm. He and his family have missed sleep to watch for thieves at night. "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," Weed said. (Read more hemp stories.)