Hemp plants have been disappearing from Ralph Weed’s farm in upstate New York, but the thieves might be laboring under a misconception. Despite looking and smelling alike, marijuana plants and hemp plants 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 more. 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. In 17 years of farming there, he said, he’d had no thefts. “Now I’m being robbed every night,” Weed said.