A Wayne County farmer says before he decided to grow a new crop this year, he knew he might run into some trouble. He was right.
However, those who are stealing hemp from the farmer's field aren't exactly getting what they're hoping for.
On the fertile farmland of Wayne County, corn is king. You can see it for miles.
But on a farm in Savannah, there is another cash crop making waves.
This summer, Dale Weed planted 14 acres of hemp. Fall is harvest season for the product, used to make Cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is an ingredient in cannabis from the hemp plant. Reports say it may help treat conditions like pain and anxiety.
“It's considered the gold rush of agriculture right now in the United States,” said Weed, owner of Pure Functional Foods.
Where some crops can make farmers hundreds of dollars an acre, Weed says CBD hemp can yield tens of thousands.
“It's a good return,” he said. “Providing the neighbors that are stealing leave us enough to make a profit."
Weed says the thefts began in July, usually happening once a week.
“They liked Thursdays for some reason,” he said. “Then it escalated to every night."
Weed said well over 100 plants were taken, prompting him to call the police.
So far, police have picked up more than a half dozen would-be hemp thieves. Weed says they're mostly local and not exactly criminal masterminds.
“They don't do their homework,” said Weed. “They don't pay attention to the news."
The hemp Weed grows looks and smells like, well, weed.
“CBD cannot get you high,” he said, noting the plant contains a miniscule amount of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. “You can smoke a whole telephone pole of this product and it will not have any effect."
Thieves who think they're getting something good are actually getting something totally useless to them.
“If they're a seller,” Weed laughed, “they're probably going to get beat up, for selling a product that doesn't work."
Weed says next year he'll build a fence around his hemp field. He already has several cameras installed, which he says helped police identify the people. Anyone who dares come around next season can expect guard dogs and possibly, armed guards.
Dale knows people get a chuckle over his last name. He is staunchly opposed to marijuana, but make no mistake: in this field, there is only one Weed.
“I don't see any win in trespassing on our property,” he said. “And stealing something that's not what you think it is."