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.
The Do’s, Don’ts And Everything Else You Should Know About Shipping Weed Through The Mail
There was once a time when marijuana smuggling consisted of a few college pals jumping into a rental car and heading south of the border to meet up with a shady character with a glass eye and a wooden leg. They might toss a bag of cash in the passenger side window of his old, rusty truck, being careful not to hit the rooster in the shotgun seat, and then travel for miles to a separate location where yet another cutthroat bendeco would hand them several bricks of hierba to transport back into the United States. The young smugglers would then have to make it across the border without getting pinched by border security or any other cowboy law enforcer looking to make good on his ass-kicking quota by terrorizing a bunch of hippies.
But smuggling marijuana is easier these days. Now that cannabis is sold legally in some part of the United States, most smugglers are simply getting their smoke from one location to another by shipping it through the United States Postal Service. Sure, this practice goes against the grain of federal law, as any amount of marijuana sent through the mail is considered drug trafficking. But most of those who use this method of transport seem to be getting away it scot-free. Some statistics show that somewhere around 90 percent of the weed shipped through the mail goes undetected.
Yet for the unlucky 10 percent who do get caught, the penalties can be quite severe. Earlier this month, a Colorado man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for shipping $3 million worth of marijuana through the mail. James Mack, 38, reportedly shipped up to six 5-gallon buckets of marijuana to his partner in Kansas every week for about a year. But as with anything in life, too much of a good thing can eventually go bad. In addition to his prison sentence, Mack was also forced to forfeit the $1.5 million he profited from his illicit pot business. The message from the federal government was clear: We are not messing around with people who use the mail to smuggle weed.
It is important to point out that shipping larger quantities of marijuana (or another other Schedule I controlled substance) through the mail, like Mr. Mack, is likely going to result in prison time and high fines. But it depends on the amount of pot. Shipping over 28 grams of pot is a bad idea. Over 50 grams is even worse. So, if a person must ship weed through USPS, it is best not to go full-blown Pablo Escobar. Keeping it small will lessen the chances of getting pinched.
But no matter the size of the pot shipment, legal troubles are definitely on the horizon for anyone busted using mail service to ship marijuana. That’s a guarantee.
Even if a person lives in a legal marijuana state, it is still against the law to send marijuana through the mail. But it is less likely they will be caught. Someone in Denver isn’t likely going to trigger a red flag by sending a package to a friend in Aspen. But parcels coming out Colorado (or any other legal state) destined across state lines can attract unwanted attention. Especially, if the packaging is sloppy and done up with a fake or no return address. Plain brown paper parcels also stand an increased chance of getting pulled of for inspection.
Sending edible marijuana can be a safer bet. This is because odor is the biggest give away. Raw flower is pungent and it permeates from the packaging the longer it sits, even when it has been vacuum sealed, so overnight or next day shipping is a always a smarter move. Keeping a box in the postal system for days only increases the chances of a postal worker or drug dog alerting federal officials to illegal contraband.
Is it illegal to ship weed? Here are all the do's and don't when it comes to sending weed to people.