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The growing interest in hemp means some people are unfortunately trying to obtain it by any means necessary. There is a surge in hemp thefts on farms across the country.

In Fresno, Calif., there are reports of three separate hemp thefts within two weeks. Robberies are also been reported in states including Maryland, New York and Michigan. An incident in St. Joseph County, Mich., also involved a farmer being hit by the suspect’s car.

Many of these recent robberies are high-volume operations involving multiple people. A police blotter details one of the Fresno thefts including 25 hemp plants worth $5,000 being taken off a property.

“You feel violated,” said farmer David Weed, whose upstate New York property is a frequent target for hemp thefts. “People steal from you when you’re trying to help a new industry get started that can help people. “It’s alarming, no theft in 17 years, and now I’m being robbed every night.”

Some farmers are taking drastic measures to protect their property. Weed says he is increasing patrols around his fields and hiring guards to watch them at night. 

Protect Your Plants

Although these steps are not always possible, we encourage attempting the actions below to protect your hemp plants.

Don’t talk about your grow: Be discreet and only discuss it with like-minded individuals who respect your privacy.

Get security: Lights, alarms and video cameras are usually enough to deter most thieves. For large grows, consider hiring people to oversee the property at night if you can afford it.

Get a dog: Having a dog roam the grounds will ward off many potential intruders. The animal can also alert you to anyone to trespasses.

Avoid extreme measures: Don’t dig dangerous holes or set booby traps that can injure someone and get you into legal hot water.

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