Thieves eye off industrial hemp crops

Thieves eye off industrial hemp crops

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On the lookout: Thieves are targeting SA's first industrial hemp crops, which are about to be harvested.

On the lookout: Thieves are targeting SA's first industrial hemp crops, which are about to be harvested.

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The first industrial hemp crops to be grown in SA have received unwanted attention from thieves.

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Thefts from the first industrial hemp crops to be grown in SA have prompted PIRSA to remind people that the product is very different from medicinal cannabis or marijuana. 

Eleven producers across the state hold licences to grow industrial hemp, but some have been receiving unwanted attention leading into the inaugural harvest.

In a statement from Biosecurity SA rural chemicals operations manager Michael McManus, stealing hemp was 'not worth it'.

If crops have been sprayed, any consumption could in fact lead to a risk of becoming seriously unwell. - Michael McManus

"Anyone thinking of stealing industrial hemp plants to either consume or smoke will experience absolutely no ‘high'," he said. 

"They should also be aware that if crops have been sprayed, any consumption could in fact lead to a risk of becoming seriously unwell due to potential pesticide exposure.”

The definition of industrial hemp, under the Industrial Hemp Act 2017, stated that the plant must contain no more than 1 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol in the leaves, flowers and stems, ensuring consumption would provide no mind-altering effects.

The industrial hemp crops have been grown to produce seeds which are used in health food and cosmetic products as well as fibre for manufacturing of consumer and industrial textiles and building materials and paper.

A bill to legalise the growing of industrial hemp in SA was introduced into parliament in 2016, which was followed by successful field trials at Loxton and Kybybolite in 2017-18.

Any suspicious behaviour seen in and near industrial hemp sites should be reported to SA Police or Crime Stoppers.

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