That’s a great question! A lot of people can’t tell the difference between these two look-a-like cousins. Some teenagers couldn’t tell the difference and it cost them – not jail time, but money and wasted time. One of them had been visiting relatives in Illinois, the farm country in the southern part of the state, and he literally bumped into a forest of ten-foot cannabis plants, ready to be harvested.

He just about passed out because he couldn’t believe his good luck. Unfortunately, he was scheduled to go back home to Arizona the next day so he called his buddy there and told him about all the pot he had just seen and how easy it would be to drive back to Illinois, harvest it, bag it and drive back to the grand Canyon state and become quick millionaires – or at least thousand-aires.

So, he flew back to Arizona in the morning and by that afternoon he and three of his friends were driving East on the I-40 toward the Land of Lincoln. They drove straight through, only stopping for gas and food, because they didn’t want anyone else to find their treasure and take it away before they got there. About 24 hours later they pulled up near the woods where the “weed” was located and they all jumped out of the car and followed their friend to the enchanted forest.

And there it was, a forest of ten-foot high plants that were just waiting for those adventurers to pluck their way to wealth and prosperity. And that’s what the young men did. They pulled almost all the leaves off of as many plants as they could before dark and filled up a good-sized plastic bin with a top that sealed tightly along with some heavy-duty plastic trash bags. All the while they were picking – they were laughing and trying to be quiet because they didn’t want to get busted by the farmer or whoever owned the property.

Once the bags and the bin were filled up, they stuffed everything in the trunk and covered them with blankets and clothing, and then they drove away. Twenty-four hours later they pulled up into one of the guy’s driveway and stealthily unloaded their cargo into the house. “Let’s try it out,” one of them said. A pipe surfaced quickly and some dried leaves were pushed into the bowl. Everybody watched as the pipe was lit and the first toke was taken. His eyes squinted and he looked up at the ceiling – waiting for something to happen. Someone else grabbed the bowl and took a hit and then the other two took their turns. Nothing. Nobody felt a thing.

So, they each loaded their own pipes and started puffing – and they felt nothing, again. “Hemp,” said one of the young men. “It’s got to be hemp,” he said. They have probably been growing this stuff for decades – or centuries – to make rope and stuff like that. You can smoke all you want but this stuff will never make you feel anything. There’s no THC in it.”

And he was right. There’s so little THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the hemp plant that it’s useless to smoke. It’s only good for making rope and material for clothing and things like that. The basic difference in appearance between marijuana and hemp is when marijuana plants are ready to be harvested they have buds or flowers on the end of the branches. The hemp plant doesn’t flower. Perhaps those guys should have done a little bit of research before they drove 1,600 miles, although, they will never forget that adventure as long as they live.