Police: Hemp plants seized in California were pot worth $1 billion

Samples of the plants well above the federal limit of THC for industrial hemp.

Author: Associated Press
Published: 7:23 PM MDT November 2, 2019
Updated: 7:23 PM MDT November 2, 2019

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Authorities in Central California have seized and destroyed about 100 million plants they said were being grown as legal hemp but contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The Kern County Sheriff's office said it served search warrants at several fields totaling 459 acres in the Arvin area on Oct. 25 as part of a joint investigation with the FBI and California Department of Fish and Wildfire.

The office said samples of the plants tested "well above" the federal limit of 0.3 percent of THC for industrial hemp.

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Authorities said the plants were essentially cannabis worth about $1 billion on the black market. They wouldn't name the grower, citing the ongoing probe.

The Bakersfield Californian said hemp cultivation is allowed in Kern County but pot production, sale and processing is all but illegal.