Consuming marijuana is legal in more than half of the country but growing it privately, isn’t. Depending on the state you’re in, your ability to grow cannabis may depend on anything from your status as a medical cannabis patient to many miles you are from the nearest dispensary. But what happens when your neighbor confuses that oregano for cannabis? Find out what plants look like weed with Cannabition cannabis museum.
What Plants Look Like Weed Buds?
From confused police offers to insurance agents, find out which garden crops people think are marijuana instead.
Cops spot an okra farm with lush leaves in Georgia
In 2014, an okra farm in Bartow County, Georgia was the scene of a ‘drug bust’ that included police helicopters, deputies “strapped to the gills,” and drug dogs. The source of the confusion, according to deputies at the time, was the lush leafiness of farmer Dwayne Perry’s crop. When viewed from afar by the helicopter combing the area for illegal grows, officers thought they’d stumbled upon a grow operation of a different kind. While okra plants typically have five-leaflets, marijuana plants can have between one and 13 leaflets per leaf, depending on it’s growth stage and health.
Fortunately for Mr. Perry, officers realized quickly that they’d been dispatched to confiscate a fruit; not that it made the encounter any more shocking for the retiree.
“Here I am, at home and retired and you know I do the right thing,” Perry told his local news station. “Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain’t right.”
Insurance agent confuses hibiscus for cannabis
In 2017, Edward and Audrey Cramer of Buffalo Township, PA had far more drawn out and unpleasant experience after their insurance agent secretly shot photos of the couple’s flowering hibiscus and sent them to police as “evidence of a marijuana grow operation.” What followed is straight out of a crime drama. Using photos provided by the insurance agent police officers obtained a search warrant for the Cramers’ property and detained husband and wife in police cars for hours while they looked for the alleged cannabis operation.
Finding none, police ultimately let the couple go, but not without confiscating their flowering hibiscus plants as “tall, green, leafy, suspected marijuana plants.” Days later, the couple also received a notice from their insurance company, Nationwide, claiming that marijuana was found on the property and threatening to cancel their policy. Later that same year, the couple sued both their insurance company and the local police over the incident. While a partial settlement was reached with Nationwide in July 2018, the suit against Buffalo Township police is still moving forward.
When it comes to confusing cannabis and hibiscus plants is actually quite easy because the leaf structure of both plants is very similar. The difference however, occurs when the hibiscus plant begins to flower. It’s bright, purple and red blooms make it distinctly different than the cannabis plant with its trichrome packed flowers.
A dank garden in the UK confuses a ‘drug gang’ and police
In September 2017, in Bristol, England the search for cannabis took a darker turn when masked intruders forced their way onto a property, and demanded that the couple dwelling their hand over the cannabis they could smell from a mile away. It later emerged that the middle-aged couple didn’t have a cannabis operation but rather, a plant growing in their front garden, called Caucasian Crosswort, also known as phuopsis stylosa, which gives off a dank, rich smell similar to that of cannabis.
The confusion continued later when police officers were called to the property. In fact, it wasn’t until local horticulture expert, Alan Down was brought in by police to identify the plant was smelling up the neighborhood.
“The smell is so distinct, it really does smell like cannabis,” Down told the Telegraph. “It’s more intense when it’s hot and dry…its an uncommon garden plant that makes good ground cover and is easy to grow but it comes from Iran and is an unusual plant to find in the UK.”
In fact, until the burglary bungle, most neighbors thought the smell was from Foxes in the area. “The smell is quite strong. It always smelt as if it was where foxes had been,” said one neighbor.
Discover What a Real Cannabis Grow Room Looks Like at Cannabition
Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with a cannabis crop? Instead of wondering what plants look like weed, learn about the different stages of marijuana growth and see what a flowering marijuana plant looks like before harvest in our Grow Room exhibit at Cannabition cannabis museum.