The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has told a judge it is dropping all charges against the man who received a 106-pound shipment of legal hemp but was arrested after FedEx called in a tip about the shipment, the New York Post reports.
On Tuesday, Prosecutor Kerri Row told Judge Raymond Rodriguez that the DA’s office had been “presented with evidence that the substance seized in [the] case contains less than .06 percent THC, which makes the substance legal hemp under federal and now state law.”
“The new law places the development and enforcement of regulations pertaining to hemp squarely in the jurisdiction of the [state] Department of Agriculture, and in light of this, we consider this case to be more appropriately dealt with as a regulatory than a criminal matter. Accordingly, pursuant to our prosecutorial discretion, we move to dismiss the charges in this case.” – Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Row, during court proceedings, via the Post
Despite the move to drop charges, Row said the NYPD would remain in possession of the shipment because it “appears to have been imported outside of New York’s regulatory guidelines.” She added that “the release of the property would be a determination to be made by the NYPD in consultation with the Department of Agriculture.”
In a statement to the Post, the NYPD maintained that the hemp plants were “illegal marijuana” because in New York “hemp sale and possession/distribution is only permissible when the buyer and seller have the proper permissions from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets” and the business owner did not get those permissions.
The case stems from the November 5 arrest of Ronen Levy, whose brother, Oren, owns Green Angels CBD and had ordered the hemp from a Vermont farm. Ronen had picked up the FedEx shipment because his brother was recovering from surgery. Oren said the packages seized by police contained laboratory testing paperwork that showed the plants contained THC levels below legal limits. About 10 days after the arrest, the DA’s office indicated they would drop the charges, but Ronen was given a new hearing date during his last court appearance earlier this month before the charges were ultimately dropped on Tuesday.
Sanford Rubenstein, an attorney for Green Angel, told the Post that the company would be filing a $10 million lawsuit against the NYPD and New York City.
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