Law enforcers in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France arrested a group of six men caught stealing from an industrial hemp farm. The group of six is reported to have mistaken the industrial hemp plants for a cannabis strain rich in THC. Over 2000 square feet are said to be stolen from the farm in Aillas in the two-night heist.
According to the prosecutors, the thieves will be arraigned in court in November later this year. They will be charged with aggravated theft and causing violence with a weapon. This was after they fired a shotgun at the farmworkers who discovered them on the second night of the destruction.
Few can distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana at a glance. The two crops look much the same as they are both descendants of the cannabis plant. The only difference between these two is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that they contain.
In France, legally planted industrial hemp has a THC limit of 0.2%. THC is the cannabinoid tied to causing a high when consumed. All cannabis plants with THC more than 0.2% in France are considered as marijuana which is illegalized.
In recent years, many countries are initiating industrial hemp projects. The plant is a rich source of fibre used for making food, cannabinoid extracts, biodegradable plastics, animal feed, paper and even biofuel.
France is one of the many countries that decriminalized lesser amounts of cannabis. In 2018, the European nation lessened criminal charges for low-level cannabis offences. Those found guilty are fined between 150 to 200 Euros.
The confusion between hemp and marijuana continues to reign, not only in France. There have been some cases of wrongfully convicted individuals handling hemp mistaken for marijuana even in the US.