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Hemp or Pot Farm? Police and Thieves Can’t Always Tell

SALEM, N.Y. — She planted her spring crops at the family farm, following the same steps as her ancestors did as they farmed the land for seven generations. She tilled the soil, sowed the seeds, irrigated the earth and waited for the bushy green hemp plants to sprout.

Then Iris Rogers did something her farmer forebears never had to do: She put up warning signs.

“Not marijuana,” it reads. “Will not get you high.”

In the nearly two years since New York State began widely authorizing farmers to grow hemp, farmers like Ms. Rogers have had to go to unusual lengths to protect their crops because so many people — from thieves to law enforcement officials — mistake hemp for marijuana.

The two cannabis plants look and smell alike, but hemp has a far lower concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component, than marijuana.

Police officers around the nation have announced large-scale marijuana busts, only to find out later that the “drug” haul was actually hemp. Even drug-sniffing dogs, said Erica Stark, the executive director of the National Hemp Association, react to hemp just as they do to marijuana. “It’s a mess,” she said. [Read More @ The New York Times]

 

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