NEW YORK — The owner of a company that sells hemp says the NYPD wrongfully seized a 100-pound shipment of the flora belonging to him.
"I was fuming cause they're boasting about something that's legal," John Dee said. "The guy is over there with two bags in his hand and a big smile on his face when he knows it's 100% legal hemp."
Dee owns Green Angel CBD, based out of Brooklyn.
He's fuming after the NYPD's 75th precinct's social media post from Sunday night. The tweet and Facebook post touts the arrest and seizure of 106 pounds of marijuana.
According to Dee, it was actually hemp with undetectable levels of THC, making it legal.
"100 percent legal. I don't make the law, I just go by the law," Dee said.
Dee says many of his clients are sick people who use the hemp for pain management. The shipment was sent out Friday by Fox Holler Farms in Vermont.
"It's all legal, and we did everything by the books," Buddy Koerner with Fox Holler Farms said. "We really tried to do everything the right way."
But Federal Express tipped off the police. The hemp was seized, and when the NYPD told Dee's brother, Ronan, to pick up the package, Ronan was arrested.
Thursday, the NYPD stopped short of admitting a mistake.
"We field tested it as marijuana (and) called the individual in. He was placed under arrest. It's currently in the lab at this point to make a final determination if it was hemp," NYPD Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan said. "The individual did not have a bill of laden justifying its delivery, so this is all part of an ongoing investigation."
But Dee is in possession of documents that he says are proof the shipment contained all the necessary paperwork proving it was legal hemp.
"We sent them all our paperwork, plus the paperwork within all the boxes. We have proof of that because it was seized by Vermont police. The Vermont police made a statement saying all paperwork was inside the boxes," Dee said. "We're extremely angry at FedEx. the package was already seized and cleared by the Vermont police."
The government classifies hemp as any plant from the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Dee says his hemp shipment was certified by a DEA certified lab to contain 0.14 percent THC.
The main problem now is the longer the hemp is held, the quality is diminished. Dee says he's already lost clients and could lose up to $30,000.
"If I lose this product, I'm going out of business, I'm completely done," Dee said.
Dee took to Instagram in defense of his business and said his brother was falsely arrested. He's gotten a lot of support on social media.
"We're in contact with our attorney. We want our product back ASAP," he said. "We want an apology for my brother's arrest. This guy has never been to jail in his life. He's traumatized."
Dee's brother was released on his own recognizance.
Dee is also extremely angry at FedEx and says he may take legal action.
Dee's next court date is not until Nov. 19. Dee says by then, the 106 pounds of hemp could be useless.
This story was originally published by Shirley Chan on WPIX in New York.