The war on drugs has sparked growing confusion nationwide over law enforcement mix-ups between illegal marijuana and legal hemp.
New York City police boastedÂ on social mediaÂ this week about a significant drug bust: 106 pounds of green plants that cops thought sure seemed like marijuana, as The Associated Press reported.
The department tweeted: â€śOfficers Greenidge and Ganshaw from the @NYPD75Pct 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.â€ť
The man who had the plants said they were weed, but rather, they were hemp.
As the AP noted, hemp often has tested positive for a permissible, trace amount of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol,Â the chemical in cannabis causing people to get high.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is also found in marijuana but does not have an intoxicating effect. Some users have said it would provide them with pain and anxiety relief.
The Nov. 2 Brooklyn bust landed Ronen Levy, who has run his own CBD business catering to pets, in handcuffs; the arrest stemmed from a tip from a FedEx worker who suspected the plants in a delivery wereÂ marijuana, New York City police said.
Levy, the owner ofÂ Green Angel CBD NYC, pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of felony criminal possession of marijuana. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Nov. 19.
His brother, shop owner Oren Levy, said the mix-up has freaked his family. â€śThey treated him like a drug dealer,â€ť Oren Levy said. â€śHeâ€™s never been to jail in his whole life. He still hasnâ€™t slept. Heâ€™s paranoid.â€ť
â€śWe got information about a large package of drugs. We got it in here. We field tested it as marijuana, called the individual in. He was placed under arrest,â€ť said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan. â€śIt is currently at the lab at this point to make a final determination, was it hemp?â€ť Monahan said. â€śThe individual had no bill of lading justifying its delivery.â€ť
The Associated Press contributed to this report.