Hemp thieves continue to target Johnston County farmers


ANGIER, N.C. (WNCN) – For the second time in two weeks, a hemp farm has been targeted in Johnston County.

Deputies are looking for the person responsible for a theft in Angier.

On Wednesday, they harvested at the farm. They’ve been growing hemp there this year for the first time.

“Tobacco hasn’t been as productive as it has been in years past, so we’re just trying something new,” said farmer Jonathan Keith.

Keith said with the new crop has come new experiences. Over the weekend, he noticed about $1,500 worth of hemp plants had been stolen.

Keith said the sheriff’s office told him it’s been a growing crime lately.

Just the other week, an 18-year-old was arrested for stealing nearly nine pounds of hemp. Deputies say they caught him at a farm south of Wendell.

“Nobody likes anybody to steal from them,” said Keith. “It hurts.”

Especially with the work that goes into farming.

“It can be quite a lot of labor involved in it right now. No more mechanized, no chemicals and stuff like that you can use.”

Hemp is sprouting in popularity. It’s the source of CBD. Advocates say CBD can help with anything from muscle aches to anxiety.

Although it’s a member of the marijuana plant family, it doesn’t have the same effect.

“A lot of people don’t understand,” said Keith. “It won’t get you high.”

Keith thinks people could be stealing it because they think otherwise or because they’re cutting it with marijuana to sell.

He said he’ll get more security if the crimes continue, but is staying optimistic.

“I think it’ll calm down after a while. It’s new. It’s everywhere this year more than any other year and I just think the hype will go down.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

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