An East Coast hemp grower has had his crop destroyed by police after they mistook his plants for illicit cannabis.
On Tuesday, a police drug squad raided Willie Kaa’s property near Ruatoria and removed 16 plants, leaving him no explanation for the seizure.
Mr Kaa had been working with Hikurangi Hemp to develop medicinal cannabis products from industrial hemp plantations, and had a licence from the Ministry of Health to do so.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brenton Greville said police had apologised to Mr Kaa for the error and would reimburse him.
A Hikurangi Hemp spokesperson Manu Caddie said the plants were estimated to be worth around $16,000 based on police estimates that one cannabis plant was worth $1000.
He said it was a sad irony that the crop could have been used in some of