NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Prosecutors have dropped charges against a man accused of picking up 106 pounds of marijuana that was actually hemp bound for a CBD shop in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office dismissed Ronen Levy’s marijuana possession case on Tuesday, reports CBS2’s Marc Liverman.
Levy was arrested Nov. 2 after trying to pick up 106 pounds of plants estimated to be valued at $17,000.
“Everything could have been cut short just by looking at the right papers and going the right channels,” said Ronen Levy. “That was not done. Thank God today that the court looked over all the paperwork and dropped our charges.”
“My business is at risk right now,” said Oren Levy, brother to Ronen. “I’m in business to help people and we’re getting hurt because of this. It doesn’t make sense to me, this should have never happened.”
The Levys said the plants were legal hemp used to extract CBD for their business, Green Angel CBD shop.
Police said the product tested positive for marijuana, causing the apparent drug bust mix-up.
The news comes on the same day Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new regulation guidelines for selling hemp and hemp-related products in New York State.
“Everything was fine,” said Jahala Dudley of Fox Holler Farms. “We’ve done shipments with FedEx before, many times.”
Dudley’s farm shipped their plants to Brooklyn before it all ended up sitting in an NYPD warehouse.
At the time of the seizure, the NYPD 75th Precinct took to Twitter on Tuesday to brag about 106 pounds of marijuana “destined for our city streets.”
The hemp contained no significant level of the THC component that gives cannabis its narcotic effects.
The tweet showed a photo of two officers surrounded by dozens of plant-filled bags displayed on several tables.
Growing hemp commercially became legal last year under the 2018 Farm Bill thanks in part to the advocacy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Dee says the Vermont Police Department cleared the boxes before they were shipped.
Cuomo also announced that New York State will host a hemp summit in January to promote policies and priorities related to New York’s hemp industry.
“The hemp industry in New York is exploding and with that growth comes a responsibility to regulate the industry in a way that helps ensure its long-term viability and protects consumers,” said Cuomo. “By establishing a regulatory framework for producing and selling hemp and hemp extract we can set the industry on a path to continued growth in a smart, safe way that empowers both farmers and consumers.”