Sweeping prohibition reforms have been changing the way people across the United States purchase cannabis. Shopping online for weed is as easy as ordering a pair of earrings. However, do not expect it to come through the mail.
When weed became legal many people had questions. One of them being:
“Can you order weed through the mail?”
Well, the blunt answer is, NO.
Despite the presence of states with regulated weed, it is absolutely illegal everywhere in the United States to send or receive weed through the mail. The USPS falls under federal jurisdiction, so they adhere to federal rather than state laws.
In recent years, third party carriers like FedEx and UPS have been indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and while these cases did not involve cannabis, it gave them the incentive to monitor and prevent the shipping of all drugs.
Federal cannabis laws
Under the Controlled Substances Act, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970 to regulate the manufacture, possession, and use of certain drugs, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Schedule 1 drugs are those “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
“Any distribution of marijuana that occurs across state lines absent a federal license is a violation of federal law,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, said. Drug trafficking penalties vary depending on the schedule of the drug being trafficked and the amount.
For less than 50 kilograms of marijuana (or from one to 49 marijuana plants), the maximum penalty for the first offense is up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 for a single individual. For the second offense, the maximum penalty doubles: up to 10 years behind bars and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
These penalties can apply to both sender and recipient. In addition to the federal level, all state cannabis initiatives that passed include language prohibiting importing and/or exporting marijuana from the legal state.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that people will not ship weed through the mail anyways. People mail weed very often as a matter of fact. The United States Postal Service has stated that it confiscated 34,000 pounds of marijuana in 2015.
However, it does not mention how much they missed, but we can assume there was some. Would you get away with mailing weed from one legal state to another? Perhaps, but it is not worth the risk.
According to the U.S. News report, from 2015 to 2016, the number of packages containing cannabis products rose by over 18 percent. The significant increase in intercepted weed packages came after two years of decline. Non-cannabis drug mail, by contrast, increased 11.6 percent during the same time span.
New guidelines from the US Postal Service reveal the federal agency will now ship and deliver some cannabis products. Specifically, hemp products.
The 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, which federally permitted and expanded hemp cultivation throughout the US in states that legalized weed. The guidelines state the USPS will only handle cannabis products made from hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
Hemp is a form of cannabis that contains negligible amounts of THC, so it cannot get anyone high. In recent years, its cultivation has grown popular in the US for extracting CBD, a non-intoxicating compound with medicinal properties.
Of course, the US government does not make mailing hemp products easy. First, to ship hemp or hemp products through the USPS, mailers must fill out a form confirming they are sending hemp and only hemp. Lying on the self-certification statement could subject the mailer to federal perjury laws. Second, only licensed industrial hemp producers can mail hemp products.