Less than a week before the New York City Police Department seized 106 pounds of legal hemp and claimed it to be marijuana, a police department in Vermont investigated the shipment and determined it to be legal.
But that's only because the Williston Police Department did its due diligence in investigating the matter, specifically reviewing the documents from the federal Department of Agriculture that were enclosed in the shipment.
However, the Federal Express employee who had tipped them off about the large shipment of hemp was not satisfied with their response, so he contacted the NYPD.
The NYPD, in turn, ignored the paperwork, choosing instead to photograph themselves with the bags of hemp, then posting the photo to Twitter, bragging about how they had seized "marijuana destined for our city streets."
The NYPD claims the arresting officer, Rodney Greenidge, was able to determine the plants were illegal because he "has had professional training as a police officer in the identification of marihuana...and the substance in this case possesses the same physical characteristics."
In order to make their arrest, the NYPD contacted the owner of the hemp and told him to come down to the 75th Precinct and pick it up.
Oren Levy, owner of Green Angel CBD, asked his brother, Ronan Levy, to pick it up for him. When his brother did, he was arrested and spent 35 hours in jail on drug trafficking charges.
Ronan Levy, who owns That Pet Cure, which specializes in CBD for pets, is still facing several charges. The 49-year-old man had never been arrested before.
When Oren Levy who is better known as John Dee learned of the arrest, he called the precinct to ask if they had bothered to read the documents from the federal government.
But Greenidge told him "I don't give a fuck about your fucking documents," Levy said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
Meanwhile in Vermont, a Williston police officer is probably shaking his head because he wrote the following Le following his investigation into the hemp.
Fed Ex Freight advised that they did a pick up for New Haven and believed the shipper was shipping marijuana. The company opened two boxes in front of me. Both boxes contained paperwork explaining the shipper as a registered VT Cannabis Hemp grower and had October 2019 laboratory paperwork stating the THC content of 0.06%. I advised the company that this does appear to be Legal Hemp and not Marijuana and the police were not going to seize it.
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants that look alike but hemp has minimal THC levels which is the compound that has psychoactive effects and has landed countless people in jail.
According to federal law passed with the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis is legal as long as it has less than .3 percent of THC. The seized hemp had much less than that, according to the lab reports in the boxes.
But the NYPD is now claiming there were no lab reports in the boxes so they used their own faulty field tests to determine it was weed.
According to KOAA:
"We field tested it as marijuana (and) called the individual in. He was placed under arrest. It's currently in the lab at this point to make a final determination if it was hemp," NYPD Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan said. "The individual did not have a bill of laden justifying its delivery, so this is all part of an ongoing investigation.
But Levy does not believe Monahan because Greenidge confirmed the existence of documents when he told him he didn't care about them.
The Williston police report, which can be read here, names a Richard Post as the original complainant, likely the Federal Express employee that tipped the NYPD off.
"I guess it was a gung ho Fed Ex driver that wanted to be a cop one day and wasn't happy with the decision by Vermont police," Levy said.
Levy said he had been contacted by Williston police officer Matthew Cohen who told him they had inspected his product and allowed it to proceed.
The police report from the Williston Police Department, which employs a total of 14 cops including the chief determined the hemp was legal on Friday.
The NYPD, made up of more than 36,000 officers, made their arrest the following day.
The seized hemp, which Levy said is worth about $30,000, is still in possession of the NYPD. And Levy is now planning on suing both Federal Express and the New York City Police Department.