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‘It’s escalated to every day:’ New York hemp farmer says thieves are mistaking his crop for pot

SAVANNAH, N.Y. — A farmer in New York said thieves are apparently mistaking his hemp plants for marijuana. Hemp produces no high when ingested, but despite that, the problem has grown worse.

Dale Weed, a farmer and food processor, jumped at the opportunity to grow industrial hemp on his land in Savannah, New York.

“This is an opportunity for farmers to be able to save the farm, and for people to understand the benefits of CBD,” said Weed.

He said he didn’t realize the demand for his crop would be so high among thieves.

“It started out with taking 20 plants, and escalated to 100 plants,” said Weed. “It was just once a week, and now it’s escalated to every day.”

He said he believes the thieves think they’re stealing marijuana, which looks and smells the same, but unlike marijuana, hemp contains very low levels of THC, which means it won’t get you high.

“To them, it’s worthless,” said Weed. “You can smoke a whole telephone pole of this without it having any effect.”

Weed said police increased patrols near his fields, and he, too, began keeping watch at night.

“My family has spent quite a few nights here watching the property,” said Weed. “I’ve spent nights here where I’m sleep deprived. It’s a big problem for us.”

He said he lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of plants, which can be processed and used for items like food, clothing, and CBD products.

Weed said it’s also an issue for other local hemp farmers and was hopeful getting the word out would make people think twice before stealing from growers.

“I understand the confusion, but I don’t understand the invasion,” said Weed.

State Police said they arrested two people in connection with thefts at Weed’s farm.

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