Cops say they seized 106 pounds of marijuana. They were wrong and seized something completely legal
The New York City Police Department seized what they called 106 pounds of marijuana recently, going as far as posing with the bags and sharing the photo on social media.
“Officers Greenidge and Ganshaw from the (NYPD 75 Precinct) used precision policing and relentless follow-up, along with a great working relationship with (FedEx) and other local law enforcement officials, to confiscate 106 pounds of marijuana that was destined for our city streets,” the NYPD said on Twitter.
It turns out the police did not confiscate marijuana like they believed. The bags were filled with legally-grown hemp from licensed Vermont farmers, reports CBS New York. The hemp was en route to a CBD store in Brooklyn.
Representatives from Fox Holler Farms told the news outlet that they shipped more than $17,000 worth of hemp to the Brooklyn store through FedEx and that it was all legal.
Hemp is legal for commercial growth under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The intended CBD store responded to the seizure on Instagram, writing “This was our shipment. My brother was falsely arrested. Those bags were all hemp. The documents were in each box. The farm also called them to give them all paperwork proving it’s all hemp! Please spread the word! We need to let people know we are not criminals!”
In New York, marijuana is not generally considered a controlled substance or a narcotic. Instead, marijuana charges are separately defined, with many of the penalties depending on the amount of marijuana found on a person, whether it was in plain sight, and whether there is evidence of an intention to sell or distribute.
Those accused of possessing 25 grams of marijuana or less in New York City and caught by police must turn over the substance and pay fine of $100. If the accused has more than 25 grams of marijuana and is smoking public, her or she can be arrested.
Had the NYPD actually taken 106 pounds of marijuana and not hemp, the accused could have faced 1-5.5 years in prison for a first offense, plus post-release supervision for 1 to 2 years, or 3 to 5 years of probation. A second time offense for that much marijuana could lead to 2 to 8 years in prison and 1.5 to 3 years of post-release supervision, or 5 years of probation.
However, as the NYPD have demonstrated, the police are not experts when it comes to identifying marijuana. Retaining legal counsel that knows New York’s marijuana laws can save you from false accusations and ensure the court system does not impose improper penalties.