Edgecombe County deputies monitoring hemp fields amid arrests

EDGECOMBE COUNTY (WTVD) -- The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office has a message for would-be hemp thieves: it won't get you high!

"I would never in a million years think I'd be talking about this," said Sheriff Cleveland Atkinson.

That's after deputies have charged multiple people with stealing - or attempting to steal - hemp from a field.

Industrial Hemp is not marijuana. It contains less than 1 percent THC, meaning that it will not get you high like marijuana will.

The variety of hemp growing in a Rocky mount field is not for medicinal or recreational use, but industrial.

"It's used for clothing products, textile products, installation, and paper products, " explained Atkinson.

But authorities say nonetheless folks have been coming by and ripping plants out of the ground.

Monday, deputies arrested 28-year-old William Cooper, 21-year-old Malik Hudson, and 25-year-old Jacquel Baker-Johnson for allegedly trying to steal hemp plants.

Mugshots of men arrested. Top left: Epps, top right: Cooper, top left: Johnson, bottom left: Williams

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office

On Tuesday, deputies found two people stealing plants from the field. Thirty-six-year-old Milton Epps, and 28-year-old Kenneth Williams were arrested.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office said that they will continue to monitor the hemp fields in the county and arrest anyone who trespasses.

"We don't want to send anybody to jail. We don't want to put anything on anybody's record, but we want everybody to understand this is stealing," said Atkinson." The product that is being stolen needs to stay in place."
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