(NEW YORK POST) — What were they smoking? The NYPD crowed that it confiscated a 106-pound marijuana shipment, but the owner of the company the flora was bound for says the greenery was no more than hemp containing legal CBD for use by cancer sufferers — and he’s got the papers to prove it.
Oren Levy, who sells hemp wholesale through his company Green Angel CBD, claims that a “gung-ho” Fedex driver took it upon himself to report the shipment to the 75th Precinct when it arrived in Brooklyn — despite the fact that the cargo had all the necessary documentation to prove it was legal.
Cops determined it was straight-up, illegal marijuana, but Levy claims cops used an outdated testing method.
“Industry hemp looks like real weed…It’s the same species of plant, it’s just the chemical compound is different,” Levy explained adding his product was below legal federal limits for THC.
The Post reviewed paperwork prepared by a third-party and shipped along with the hemp certifying that THC levels were well below the federal legal limit of .3 percent THC by volume.
His hemp shipment was certified to contain .14 percent THC, according to documents he provided The Post.
On Saturday, cops called Green Angel CBD telling them to come pick up their greenery — but when Levy’s brother Ronen arrived at the station house, cops instead slapped cuffs on him.
A day later, the 75th Precinct tweeted a photo of dozens of large bags of what looks like marijuana with the caption, “Great job by Day Tour Sector E yesterday. Working with FedEx and other local law enforcement, they were able to confiscate 106 Lbs. of marijuana, and arrest the individual associated with the intended delivery.”
Green Angel CBD fired back on Instagram that “This was our shipment. My brother was falsely arrested. Those bags were all hemp. All documents were in each box. The farm also called them to give them all there paperwork proving it’s all hemp ! Please spread the word! We need to let people know we are not criminals!”
“I want it back. It’s 100 percent legal” Levy told The Post adding that he is out up to $30,000 since the cops took the delivery. “I have helped thousands of people — people with cancer, people with autism, pain, arthritis, people with severe skin issues, people who haven’t slept for weeks. We are a legitimate business.”
A Brooklyn criminal judge released Ronen without bail on Sunday, according to court records.
Andrew Subin, a lawyer with the Vermont farm that sold Levy the plants, said a detective from the precinct asked him what the legal THC limit was.
“He was claiming that he didn’t know the legal limit. He said that he needed to do his own test,” Subin said. “We have a test by a certified lab, so I don’t understand why they need to do their own test. This is having a real impact on our client and the buyer.”
Subin’s law partner, Timothy Fair, said the cops have no ground to hold the plants, which can lose their potency over time.
“I think it’s entirely inappropriate for them [the 75th Precinct] to put that on Facebook when no crime was committed. For them to gloat over the seizure of hemp is not appropriate,” Subin said of the East New York cop shop’s tweet. “There is no grounds for holding this product. It is a time sensitive matter. The hemp won’t be viable indefinitely.”
The hemp is legal under federal law, according to David Holland, a lawyer who advocates to legalize marijuana.
“The bottom line is as long as all the load has less than .3 percent [THC] it’s legal under the federal farm bill and therefore legal in New York State,” he said.
“It’s not surprising that their [the NYPD’s] antiquated testing would still show positive for THC. But the presence of THC is no longer the line of demarcation as to whether a crime is committed or not because it will come up positive. It’s whether it’s over .3 percent of THC by volume.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive unlike THC. It is often used as an alternative medicine to help people with pain and anxiety.
“The laws governing hemp have gone through changes over the years but now hemp is legal in New York,” added Manhattan lawyer Carla Sanderson. “The NYPD may have been mistaken in making this arrest without probable cause that a crime was committed.”
Cops said the investigation is active and ongoing.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy