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.
Mailing marijuana: Officials report spike in pot-laden packages
CHICAGO (WLS) — Since recreational use of the marijuana became legal in several states, authorities report a major jump in the number of pot-filled packages being sent through the mail.
Mailing marijuana is a federal crime – even if it originates from a state where the drug is legal. Marijuana by mail has nothing to do with Illinois medical marijuana, which started Monday.
This is the story of illegal marijuana delivered to the doorstep, and experts said most of the marijuana stashed inside mail goes undetected.
The U.S. Postal service handles more than 155 billion pieces of mail a year and more than a billion of that in Chicago. Forty thousand pounds of pot were seized nationwide from the mail last year.
“I think we’ve seen it all,” said Antonio Gomez, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.
In some cases, pot was packaged inside cans of corn and bags were hidden inside a hand-held vacuum. Others were shipped in heat-sealed packages to disguise the smell.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way and regrettably the bad guys always try to be one step ahead of us but fortunately we’re always two steps ahead of them,” Gomez said.
Authorities said nearly 8,000 packages containing pot were confiscated last year — up significantly since 2007.
“Federal law trumps state law,” Gomez said. “So even with these states that have passed the legal recreational use of marijuana, it is still a violation of the federal law to transport illegal narcotics through the US mail.”
Gomez would not elaborate on investigative techniques to detect marijuana –which reportedly include package profiling and drug-sniffing dogs.
“There are many methodologies that we use to attempt to rid the postal service of illegal narcotics of any kind,” Gomez said.
The I-Team visited Colorado last year soon after recreational marijuana was legalized there and dispensaries were filled with candy and baked goods containing pot that experts say is more potent than in other parts of the country.
“Colorado marijuana is very desirable,” said Thomas Gorman, program director for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, an organization made up of federal, state and local groups working to reduce drug transportation.
The group recently released a study that shows the amount of intercepted mail containing Colorado marijuana destined for other states has increased over 2,000 times from 2010-2014.
Gorman said the busts are a very small portion of what is actually being sent from there.
“We’re only probably getting 10 percent or less, so 90 percent is going through,” he said.
Authorities need a warrant der to open mail they suspect contains something illegal.
The I-Team spoke to several people who said they have sent marijuana in the mail from Colorado. They did not want to be identified, but said they have never been caught.
However, Ryan Bailey has been caught. He plead guilty in August to drug charges. Chicago police say he had a package shipped to him from Colorado containing seven pounds of marijuana. He is currently serving a three-year sentence.
Dennis Wichern, who heads Chicago’s Drug Enforcement Agency office, said he worries about how easier access to marijuana impacts kids.
“If you start with marijuana there’s a higher likelihood that you might move on to other drugs,” Wichern said. “But when you start making edibles and gummi bears you’re targeting our youth.”
“It’s very, very dangerous,” Gorman said. “I mean the edibles have been a tremendous negative impact.”
Colorado law enforcement officials said they have their hands full with illegal marijuana farms, which are run by criminal growers who think they won’t be noticed in a state where recreational weed is OK.
A new marijuana underground, shipping to Illinois and other states, and dozens of people in Colorado have been arrested in recent weeks in connection.Since recreational use of the marijuana became legal in several states, authorities report a major jump in the number of pot-filled packages being sent through the mail. ]]>