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NYPD Refuses To Release Confiscated Vermont Hemp Shipment

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Kathryn Blume 3 Dec 2019

New York CBD business owner Ronen Levy’s December 2 hearing, where charges were expected to be dropped, has been postponed to May.

In a surprising turnaround, two New York CBD business owners, whose legal Vermont hemp shipment was confiscated by the NYPD on November 2, are facing a prolonged legal battle rather than having their product returned to them.

On the morning of Saturday, November 2, Oren Levy, owner of Green Angel Oil, and his brother Ronen Levy, owner of ThatPetCure CBD were waiting for a shipment of legal hemp from Vermont when they got a call from the NYPD that the hemp had arrived, been searched, verified, and that they could come down to receive the shipment. 

But when Ronen Levy showed up at the NYPD’s 75th District, he was arrested by officers who claimed that the 106 pounds of hemp had tested positive for THC – even though it had been cleared by the Williston Police, and came with all the appropriate documentation, including third-party lab certification and instructions to contact the Vermont Department of Agriculture if the shipment were seized.

“This should’ve never happened. They put my brother in jail and it’s not right.” 

Despite the fact that the officers had emailed the Vermont growers, Fox Holler Farm, who assured them the plants were hemp, Ronen was locked in a cell for 33 hours. The NYPD posted on social media that they had achieved a major drug bust and confiscated “marijuana that was destined for our city streets.”

“This should’ve never happened,” said Oren Levy. “They put my brother in jail and it’s not right.” 

The hemp, the Levys claim, was not destined for New York’s streets, but would have been made into CBD oil marketed for humans by Oren Levy’s company Green Angel Oil, and for animals by Ronen Levy’s company ThatPetCure CBD.

“I love helping animals. I love people telling me that their parrot or dog or cat is doing much better. That’s great for me.” 

“I love helping animals,” said Ronen Levy. “I love people telling me that their parrot or dog or cat is doing much better. That’s great for me.” 

Ultimately, Ronen Levy was released on his own recognizance, and given a court date of December 2, where it was expected that the charges would be dropped because the Levys had done nothing illegal in shipping their hemp from Vermont to New York. The 2018 Farm Bill descheduled hemp so that it is not considered a schedule I controlled substance. Additionally, a May 2019 USDA memo specifically noted that it is legal to transport hemp across state lines.

When December 2 arrived, Ronen Levy was told – without additional explanation – that his court date had been moved to May 29. Not only does the delay prolong his legal ordeal, but it means the Levys still don’t have access to the $30,000 of legal hemp that they paid for.

“This is definitely going to put me out of business. I’m done. This crap is stressing me out big time.”

Oren Yaniv, a spokesperson for Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office, also gave statement to news reporter December 2 stating that no levels of THC are legal in New York state, and that the shipment of hemp will not be returned. This is a turnaround from a statement made by the DA’s office on November 19 to NBC4 New York that the charges would likely be dropped at the December 2 hearing.

 

“This is definitely going to put me out of business,” Ronen Levy said. “I’m done. This crap is stressing me out big time.”

Once Ronen Levy’s case has made it through the legal system, the brothers are planning a lawsuit against NYPD, FedEx, the arresting officer, and the FedEx driver who turned their shipment over to the police.

Oren Levy has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help them pay legal and business expenses associated with this situation.

Heady Vermont has launched a Change.org petition asking the Brooklyn DA and the NYPD to return the hemp to the Levys.

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