Hibiscus mistaken for marijuana, couple arrested

It was my friend Denise Barron Hathazy-Davis who first told me about the story in the Tribune-Review about an older couple who were growing hibiscus and were arrested because police thought they were cultivating marijuana. Here’s the full story.

That’s a gardener’s nightmare, I’ve never seen a hibiscus leaf that in any way resembles marijuana foliage. After I posted the story on social media, I got a tweet from @krissy314 who said, “I’ve done a double take with our neighbor’s castor bean plant. It still confused me even when I ‘knew’ what it was!”

False arelia has similar leaves to marijuana.

False arelia has similar leaves to marijuana.


For years I had a plant called false arelia in my greenhouse. I thought for sure the UPS guy would call the cops at some point assuming it was pot. The leaves are similar, but a darker color.

Before you call the police, take a close look at what’s growing in the neighbor’s garden.