Indy hemp farm becomes target for thieves following legalization of hemp as a crop

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis hemp farmer falls victim to what some are calling uninformed crooks. Police say a half-dozen people tried to steal hemp plants from the northwest side farm Tuesday night.

Police reports show thieves hit the same farm 3 times in the last two and a half weeks.

According to court records, officers found 6 people stealing hemp plants Tuesday night. Police arrested 21-year-old Dayshawn Mumford and 19-year-old Alyssia Clark, but the other four suspects got away.

The crime comes after thieves stole over a thousand hemp plants from the same farm earlier this month.

Experts in the hemp industry say a little education could prevent those crimes.

"It stems from the misalignment at the federal level of putting hemp in there was marijuana or other psychoactive controlled substances," said Justin Swanson with the Midwest Hemp Council.

Swanson says even though a federal Farm Bill in 2018 removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances act and the Indiana statehouse passed a law to regulate hemp as a legal crop, many people remain uneducated about what hemp is and what it isn’t.

"You’ve got to keep in mind this is a plant that was misaligned at the federal level for 75 plus years. It was treated from a legal point just like heroin or LSD," said Swanson.

There are lots of legitimate uses for hemp, including manufacturing CBD oil, but the hemp grown on farms across the state cannot be used for recreational drug use due to the low levels of THC.

"A lot of these farmers know the crop they have is valuable, but not for psychoactive reasons," said Swanson. "If you don’t have an outlet for that biomass, it's no different than going in and taking corn off a corn cob."

Swanson hopes as people learn they can’t get high from industrial hemp, thefts like the one this month in Indianapolis will come to an end.

"People that are exploring other people's properties are uneducated about what’s growing and they’re going to be sorely disappointed if they’re in there for the wrong reasons," said Swanson.

The farm's owner says they removed all the hemp crops from the property.

Police booked both suspects arrested Tuesday night into the Marion County jail. Both are due in court on Thursday.

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