Elkhart County Sheriff's Office

Theft of Hemp Plants



Recently, ECSO Deputies have responded to several reports of hemp theft; and it is believed that these thefts are committed on the assumption that hemp is the same as marijuana.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind you that if you are caught with a stolen hemp plant, not only will you be charged with theft, but you will also be charged with possession of marijuana, as a license is required to grow and possess hemp.

While an industrial hemp plant may look and smell like marijuana, there are some significant differences:

Hemp is grown to harvest plant fibers for textiles or to extract oil from the plants. The oil from hemp plants contains cannabidiol (CBD), which is processed to make consumable CBD oil.

Industrial hemp must test below 0.3% THC. On average, the THC levels in recreational marijuana can vary from 4% to 15% and up. As a result, ingesting industrial hemp will not yield the same results as ingesting marijuana.

A license to grow hemp is required, and in the absence of a license, any production regardless of THC level is considered marijuana.

Being in possession of a hemp plant, without a license, will result in being charged with possession of marijuana.

Another noticeable difference between hemp and marijuana plants is that hemp plants may be grown in an open field, while marijuana is still illegal to grow in Indiana.


With these recent events, local hemp farmers are keeping an even closer watch over their legal and highly regulated crops, and any suspicious activity will be reported.