Why You Should Never Send Weed in the Mail
Monday September 17, 2018
T here are few government agencies with their own memorable children’s song, but sing the first few notes to, “here’s the mail, it never fails…” and any member of a certain generation of American youth is likely to give the full song in response. The American affinity for the US postal service is so extensive it even spawned multiple major motion pictures. However, the nation’s growing acceptance for legal cannabis is at odds with our affinity for shipping things – making the mail system off limits for marijuana businesses or consumers.
Until extensive laws change, let us be really clear, it is always a bad idea to send cannabis through the mail.
If that’s not enough to convince you that mailing weed is a bad idea, we’ll break it down even further to specifically highlight the main reasons why sending cannabis via the mail is something no cannabis consumer should ever consider.
Cannabis is still federally illegal and considered a schedule 1 drug, meaning that sending it through the mail amounts to trafficking. According to the DEA’s 2017 ominously titled “Drugs of Abuse” report, the most minimal of offenses possible (anything under 50kg of product, or 1-49 plants) is punishable by up to five years jail time and a fine of $250,000.
If you get arrested with friends, they can charge up to $1 million to the group. Second offenses will double that, and it only gets worse for larger amounts. The US postal service is also a federal agency, meaning aside from cannabis laws, you can also be charged with misuse of mail and other mail-tampering related offenses. Even if the state you reside in is generally cool with it and decides to not prosecute, wherever it is arriving might be a different story, and each place can decide to prosecute however it pleases. Sending cannabis through the mail is definitively illegal in any circumstance, unless you are acting on behalf of a federal agency with the approved paperwork, which lets be honest, if you’re reading this article, that’s probably not the case.
Sender and Receiver are Both Equally at Fault
Maybe you’re thinking, “not my address, not my problem, it’s on whomever receives it.” This is flat out false. Both sides can be charged. People tend not to realize how well tracked the mail is, either by USPS or private companies like UPS or FedEx, and using things like fake names or addresses is actually a red flag to federal agencies, and is more likely to get your shipment flagged. All of the loopholes and workarounds that you’ll hear from friends are usually just wishful thinking.
Say Goodbye to a Future in Cannabis
If you work in the cannabis industry, or have any aspirations of getting into it, that would become impossible after a charge. Even if someone was okay with risking a fine or jail time, those in the cannabis industry may also be risking their livelihood.
In many legalized states, workers have to be licensed in order to be allowed to work in the marijuana industry, and the determination of that licensing is largely based on past criminal record, especially in relation to cannabis. Most consider having a clean criminal record the only requirement for holding a badge, so sending a package means effectively risking that possibility.
Risk Losing Your Product
It’s probably the least of one’s concerns, but it’s still a huge bummer. Though prices are constantly falling, cannabis still costs money. Even if nothing legal happens, the product is likely to be confiscated. Every year, the DEA publishes data on the amount of seized cannabis. In 2017, the record was broken for cannabis seized leaving Colorado through the mail, and it became so problematic in Oregon that its US Attorney issued an editorial about how overproduction was driving the black market. He stated, “In 2017 alone, postal agents in Oregon seized 2,644 pounds of marijuana in outbound parcels. ”
Without question, a lot of pot isn’t winding up at its destination, and your package is likely to be part of it. After it doesn’t arrive, you’ll get to play the fun waiting game of wondering if you’re going to be charged for it or not. Which, doesn’t always happen the way you’d expect…
The Government Probably Knows You Did It
So, maybe someone you know got a package of marijuana in the mail. Bravo, all is well. Clearly no one is watching, because it worked, right? Nope. Often, it’s not advantageous for the federal government to go through the process of prosecuting someone who has broken the law, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know about it, and won’t keep a record.
If it ever becomes advantageous to use that information at a later time, they can. Statutes of limitations will vary from state to state, but are generally longer for drug trafficking than drug possession. The current limit in California is five years from the date of the incident, just to give you an idea. One postal agent who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity put it simply, “We know. We always know. It’s either not worth the time, or we’re waiting for the right time.” Usually, after first being detected, they start to watch your activity and wait to see if there’s a larger charge to prosecute you for while you continue to send packages under a false sense of security, continuing to incriminate yourself.
The Consequences Outweigh the Risks
If you’re an upstanding citizen who would like to continue living freely in America, then it’s obvious you should never mail cannabis – no matter how lucrative it may be or how desperately someone may be asking you. Next time your friend begs you to just send out a few grams or a couple edibles, tell them to consider putting the money towards a plane ticket so they can come visit your wonderful legalized state and enjoy marijuana safely and legally.
Do you have anything to add to why mailing cannabis is a bad idea? Share your thoughts below!
Mailing cannabis is a serious offense and can leave you with some pretty hefty consequences if you're caught. Learn more about why mailing marijuana is never a good idea and some of the steep ramifications that you could face if caught.
Is It a Crime to Send Drugs Through the Mail?
In an age where you can order just about anything online and have it shipped to your door within a couple of days, most people don’t think anything about sending various items through the mail.
But what about medication? Is it ever okay to send your cousin some leftover antibiotics? What about some painkillers you don’t need anymore? If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, can you ship it to someone else in a different state? There are very serious consequences for sending certain substances through the mail, and people who break the law could face long-term consequences. If you have been charged with sending or receiving any kind of drug through the mail, you should speak with a federal defense lawyer, like John Helms, as soon as possible.
Illegal to Send Drugs Through the Mail
As the opioid crisis has grown increasingly serious, police and federal investigators have started focusing on drugs sent through the mail. Postal inspectors can screen packages to check for drugs like marijuana and other substances.
Some people may attempt to send drugs through the mail because they believe the Fourth Amendment protects them from having their packages searched. Typically, a postal worker isn’t permitted to open a package in order to see what’s inside and if the contents contain anything illegal. To be able to inspect a package, a postal worker or inspector must usually obtain a search warrant based on a reasonable suspicion that the package contains something illegal.
The U.S. postal service is part of the federal government, and it has an inspection service of its own that oversees packages. There are more than 200 federal laws that govern criminal conduct with respect to the postal service. An individual who violates these laws could face a felony charge.
However, there are differences between the federal postal service and private carriers like Fed Ex and UPS. In fact, private package companies have become sensitive to the increase in shipments that contain drugs and other illegal items. In 2013, UPS entered into a non-prosecution agreement and paid a $40 million fine for its alleged role in illegally shipping cigarettes that weren’t properly taxed.
It’s against the law to ship marijuana through the mail. It’s also against the law to mail other drugs like heroin and prescription drugs, even if the person sending the package had a valid prescription.
However, it’s not against the law for a properly licensed pharmaceutical company to mail a prescription medication as long as the recipient has a valid prescription from a doctor. In recent years, companies like online pharmacies and mail-order pharmacies have begun offering prescription services through the mail. As long as these companies are licensed and operating legally, they can mail drugs to people with a valid prescription.
Sending Marijuana Through the Mail
Over the past few years, a number of states have made marijuana legal. In some states, marijuana is legal for recreational as well as medical use. However, in other states marijuana is still only legal for medicinal purposes. Currently, marijuana for recreational use is legal in 10 states, while marijuana for medical use is legal in 33 states.
However, marijuana is still prohibited under federal law, which means it’s illegal to ship it from one state to another through the mail. Since the postal service is a federal agency, and because shipping marijuana from one state to another also involves interstate commerce, shipping marijuana falls under federal jurisdiction.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that there can be serious federal penalties for the person shipping the marijuana as well as the person who receives it. Any individual who engages in shipping marijuana across state laws could face criminal charges involving drug possession and even drug trafficking.
According to one report, postal service inspectors seized over 37,000 pounds of marijuana in 2016 alone. Inspectors also seized $23.5 million in proceeds related to drug trafficking. Reports say that although it’s illegal to send marijuana and other drugs through the mail, the problem continues to increase. While postal service inspectors handle much of the screening and seizure of illegal drugs sent through the mail, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has also provided help as the problem has increased.
Help for Federal Mail Crimes
If you have been charged with sending a drug of any kind through the mail, it’s important to speak to a lawyer who handles federal cases. In some cases, a person may not realize that they weren’t permitted to ship drugs.
In cases involving federal law and the mail, it’s important to work with a lawyer who can help you understand your options. The penalties for federal crimes can be serious, and defending yourself in federal court can be an overwhelming experience. It’s best to work with a lawyer who understands federal law and has experience handling cases in federal court.
In an age where you can order just about anything online and have it shipped to your door within a couple of days, most people don’t think anything about