A Sisters man was arrested Wednesday after stealing industrial hemp from a local farm, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said a farmer earlier this week noticed a substantial amount of industrial hemp cut down and missing from his field.
According to Vander Kamp, the cannabis crop comes in many different strains, or varietals. Many of those are bred into marijuana and have high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound that causes impairment. Industrial hemp is not one of these; legally, industrial hemp is only permitted to have 0.3 percent THC at most. Although industrial hemp looks and smells like marijuana, the hemp plant is used for production of CDB oil and other industrial uses.
DCSO Deputies conducted an investigation and identified 20-year-old Noah Gabriel Kirshner, of Sisters, as the suspect in the crop theft.
“Our office received information from the community about possible suspects via the internet and social media,” Vander Kamp said. “In addition to the information received, investigating deputies and detectives followed up on several leads that lead us to Mr. Kirshner.”
Vander Kamp said it’s not clear if Kirshner believed the industrial hemp was actually marijuana or if he intended on selling the product fraudulently as marijuana. Kirshner did not have the equipment to extract the cannabinoids needed to make CBD oil or other hemp products.
Ultimately, the stolen hemp was later recovered from Kirshner’s home and returned to the farmer, Vander Kamp said.
Kirshner was arrested and taken to the Deschutes County Jail on charges of first-degree theft and trespass and a probation violation.