HANOI, Sept 28 (dpa): Vietnamese authorities have caught a farmer growing over 300 cannabis plants in the middle of his orange grove, which he said were for feeding his chickens, the state media has announced.
Police in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, located around three hours from Ho Chi Minh City, said 42-year-old Bui Duc Hoa grew 304 cannabis plants.
The farmer told local authorities he bought the seeds from a friend and started growing the plants, which had already reached a height of 1.5 metres, two months ago.
The farmer told police he received the cannabis seeds from a friend, and that he grew the plants to feed his chickens as a way to prevent them from falling ill.
The aim was solely to ensure and prevent his chickens from getting sick, he added.
Cannabis is illegal in Vietnam.
Small-scale growers can face a fine of between US$80 and US$215, while farmers found cultivating larger amounts could be jailed for between six months and seven years. Police have seized the weed and are continuing their investigation.
Drug arrests with harsh sentences are not common in Vietnam.
A court in Ho Chi Minh City has sentenced eight people to death for drug trafficking in October 2019 after a judge found them guilty of transporting 132 kilogrammes of heroin and 55 kilogrammess of methamphetamines.
Under Vietnamese law, the production or sale of 100 grammes of heroin or cocaine, or 300 grammes of methamphetamines, warrants the death penalty.