Police in Colchester, Vermont report that thieves have been stealing hemp from a local farm, mistakenly believing the plants to be cannabis, according to a WCAX report.
Police say there have been six different intrusions at the farm and that 12 arrests have been made, so far.
The farm in question is Humble Roots Horticulture, operated by farmer Evan Fuller. Fuller said that the farm has heightened security to include 24-hour surveillance, seven days per week, via security cameras. The farm has also acquired pepper ball guns (which fire nonlethal, pepper spray projectiles), bulletproof vests, and an electric fence.
Police spokespeople said that the thieves were looking to steal cannabis plants, not hemp plants, but their ignorance is starting to cost farmers thousands of dollars, as any crop that is stolen — even if it’s found and later returned — must be destroyed.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Fuller, who grows the hemp for oil to be used in balms or salves.
“It’s actually running into the hundreds and thousands of dollars in losses for this Farm, and each plant is worth a lot of money. And people are not only taking, but damaging the crop as they go in as well.” — Colchester Police Chief Doug Allen, via WCAX
Colchester police warned the community via Facebook that anyone considering robbing a hemp farm should know that just two plant’s worth of hemp is valuable enough (about $900) to constitute grand larceny, which is a felony charge.