NYPD Confiscates 106 Pounds of Vermont-Grown Hemp, Arrests Business Owner
New York CBD business owner arrested by NYPD over legal shipment of Vermont-grown hemp.
On the morning of Saturday, November 2nd Brooklyn, NY resident Oren Levy, owner of Green Angel Oil, received a phone call from the Vermont State Police Department in Williston. He and his brother Ronen Levy, owner of ThatPetCure CBD, were waiting on a FedEx shipment of 106 pounds of legal hemp from Fox Holler Farms in New Haven, VT.
The Vermont Police informed them that their shipment had been searched according to legal guidelines, documented, and released to FedEx to continue its journey to Brooklyn.
“They kept calling it ‘narcotics.'”
The next day, Levy received a call from an NYPD officer informing him that his hemp had arrived, been searched, verified, and that he could come down to receive the shipment. Because Levy had just undergone an emergency appendectomy, he asked his brother Ronen to go for him. Shortly after he arrived at the station, Ronan Levy was taken into questioning by police, who said they wanted to have an “educational conversation” because, according to them, the plant matter had tested positive for THC.
“They kept calling it ‘narcotics,’ says Levy, who repeatedly assured police officers that the shipment had been independently tested and was below legal federal limits for THC, certified as legal by the Vermont State Police, and came with all the appropriate manifests and documentation, including instructions to contact the Vermont Department of Agriculture if the shipment were seized.
The NYPD also contacted Fox Holler Farm by email, and the growers assured them that they’re a legal hemp farm and that the shipment contained no THC. “But they didn’t want to hear anything about it,” says Levy.
The police eventually read him his Miranda rights and locked him in a cell for 33 hours. “I only had a shirt on,” says Levy. “I was freezing. Thirty-three hours of sitting in a cell with fecal matter, urine, everywhere.”
Ultimately, Levy was released on his own recognizance, and given a court date of November 19.
“I do everything I can to do things right and be compliant, and they’re showing off our product as if they’re saving people. It’s offensive.”
Upon returning home, Levy saw both Facebook and Twitter posts from NYPD’s 75th precinct heralding the “precision policing and relentless follow-up” that had confiscated 106 pounds of cannabis “destined for our city streets.”
Levy and his brother were incensed and decided to respond. “They wanted to play with social media, so we’re going to do the same.” The brothers contacted local media and have been interviewed by NYC Channel 12 and the New York Post.
Fox Holler Farms also released a statement on their newly created Facebook page:
“I’m in shock about it still,” says Jahayla Dudley, owner of Fox Holler Farms. “I do everything I can to do things right and be compliant, and they’re showing off our product as if they’re saving people. It’s offensive.”
When asked to comment on the situation, Sergeant Mary Frances O’Donnell, New York Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information Spokeswoman said, “The investigation is active and ongoing.”
Cary Giguere Director, Public Health, Agricultural Resource Management Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets stated, “Based on the timing of this seizure it really feels like a misinterpretation of the new USDA interim final rule or its just law enforcement being overly cautious. From what I’ve seen all the appropriate paperwork was in place. Everything that the Agency would advise when shipping hemp or hemp infused products was in place for this shipment.”
FedEx, according to their shipment terms and conditions, reserves the “right to refuse, hold or return any shipment.” However, no employees of the Brooklyn FedEx branch involved in the case could be reached for comment.