Pot or not? Busts highlight growing confusion over hemp

The CBD craze is leaving the war on drugs a bit dazed and confused.

The extract that’s been showing up in everything from candy to coffee is legally derived from hemp plants, which look and smell an awful lot like that other cannabis – marijuana. They’re so similar, police officers and the field tests they use on suspected drugs sometimes can’t tell the difference.

Case in point, New York City police boasted on social media this week about what seemed like a significant drug bust: 106 pounds (48 kilograms) of funky, green plants that officers thought sure seemed like marijuana.

But the Vermont farm that grew the plants and the Brooklyn CBD shop that ordered them insisted they’re actually industrial hemp, and perfectly legal. And, they said, they have paperwork to prove it.

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