September 18, 2009 – STRATFORD, Canada – Hemp is not pot!
This simple botanical fact may soon become painfully clear to some would-be stoners who have been stealing hemp from a farmer’s field in Stratford.
There’s a crucial difference between hemp and marijuana: smoking pot makes you high, whereas smoking hemp will do nothing at best, or make you violently ill at worst.
So Stratford Ontario police have issued a warning to anyone planning a hemp heist:
“If you’ve already stolen hemp, do not attempt to smoke it, because its potential side-effects include splitting headaches and nausea, or just utter disappointment” said Insp. Sam Theocharis.”
“Our biggest concern is from a public-safety standpoint. Hemp is not meant for ingestion and the user will become violently ill and may very well require hospital care.”
Police have also notified Stratford General Hospital and made them aware of the possibility that people may arrive at the emergency unit suffering the ill effects of hemp ingestion, said Theocharis.
Police have also notified the producer of the crop.
“This situation also goes beyond the health risk to people taking the plant,” said Theocharis. “Most notably, this is a legally produced crop and people taking the plant are stealing. In Canada, it is also an offence to have hemp or to sell it if you are not legally licensed to do so.”
Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family and look similar. Theocharis said the most significant difference in the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabino) in marijuana. THC is the chemical that provides the “high” associated with marijuana. Legally grown hemp must contain less that 0.3 per cent THC.
Hemp growing has been legal in Canada for 11 years, since the crop can be used to make fabrics, textiles, paints, paper and other products.
Confusion arises because hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family and can be easily mistaken for one another.
The majority of the hemp thefts have occurred at a field just south of the Stratford Festival Marketplace Mall, where it is being grown legally.
Police spotted several people lurking behind the mall and carrying empty duffelbags Thursday night. Police alerted the owner of the field, who warned of the potential dangers of smoking hemp.
Stratford police are urging anyone who has mistaken hemp for pot to discard it immediately and not share it with anyone. Source.