Mailing Weed: Everything You Need To Know
Updated on April 14, 2021:
Forget about legally mailing weed. Marijuana still remains illegal at the federal level. This includes both medical and recreational weed, meaning you cannot mail weed legally anywhere in the United States in 2021.
Federal law still prohibits you from shipping weed to other states, even states which have legalized marijuana recreationally. Shipping weed within a single state is also prohibited.
However, this doesn’t stop people from mailing weed. Despite weed’s legal status, many are successful.
You can mail weed, but as we’ve explained above, there are risks. The do’s and don’ts we’ve listed here can help increase your chances of successfully transporting your product. Most of this article is specific to the United States, but if you are outside the U.S. or are just looking for information about best practices, skip to the bottom to learn how to make a package look inconspicuous.
Now, hemp-derived products on the other hand, are another thing.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp. This effectively removed hemp from the list of federally-controlled substances; meaning, we can now use hemp and all its parts legally. And because hemp is now legal, it then makes it legal for you to ship hemp-derived products to any part of the country.
This is great news. People who need CBD for their health concerns can now receive CBD-derived products through mail without fear of violating the law. This is great news for CBD manufacturers as well. They now have access to a bigger clientele.
Is It Legal to Mail Hemp CBD Products With USPS?
Short answer, yes but not in all forms.
In March of 2019, the USPS released a statement saying that mailing hemp products is now allowed. However, there are strict conditions before shipping your hemp-derived products.
- The CBD product must contain no more than 0.3% THC.
- Producers of industrial hemp must comply with all applicable cannabis laws (federal, state, and local). This, of course, includes possessing a license to produce industrial hemp granted by their state’s Department of Agriculture.
So if you don’t have the license to produce and manufacture hemp-derived products, forget it.
- The mailer should produce documentation that shows he is authorized by the state-licensed producer to market said products.
- The mailer is also required to sign a self-certification statement confirming that the product he’s shipping is derived from hemp.
The form is subject to the False Statements Act, violations of which are prosecutable under federal law.
Of note, the USPS doesn’t require producers to present documents showing their state licensure or laboratory tests to prove the THC content when shipping the product. However, the USPS has the right to request these documents from the mailer should there be doubts.
So to prevent delays in shipping, it would be wise to carry these documents with you to show that the products are compliant with the laws.
How About Private Mailing Services Like FedEx, UPS, or DHL?
Beginning April 5th 2020, FedEx and UPS have announced that they will no longer ship CBD vapes as a result of the recent “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” which was passed in December 2020 as part of an appropriations bill. You can still however, ship non-vape hemp-derived products through private couriers, and the same rules apply. CBD manufacturers like our friends over at DiamondCBD are switching to USPS in order to continue mailing CBD vapes.
According to the FDA, the THC content of the hemp-derived product should have no more than 0.3% THC. And you should also have the necessary documents to ensure a smooth transaction.
How About Shipping Hemp-Derived CBD Oil Outside the United States?
Although some countries have already legalized hemp-derived CBD products, shipping outside the country is more of a hassle.
Each country has its own cannabis laws, and you’d have to thoroughly research their exact laws before shipping the products to avoid any legal problems.
To conclude, you can mail hemp products as long as you follow the rules. However, you still can’t ship weed anywhere in the country as long as marijuana remains federally illegal.
Despite marijuana being legalized across more than half of the USA, it’s still highly illegal to send in the mail. Needless to say, there are still people who do it every day without being bothered. While there are plenty of people successfully mailing weed, there is always going to be the factor of legality to worry about.
The Federal Government’s stance on cannabis is part of the reason for this. Since cannabis is illegal at the federal level, it is even illegal to mail weed between two legal states. So how do you do it successfully without getting caught? While there is never going to be a full guarantee of success, there are some “harm reduction” techniques that we can suggest to you.
When it comes to mailing weed, there are things that you should do, things that you should avoid and things that you definitely should not do – at least if you want to avoid getting in any serious trouble. So we have all the information that you might need on shipping weed within the USA. The executive decision about whether or not you should finally do it will be left up to you.
What Are The Risks Of Mailing Weed?
Before we get into some epic advice about how to mail successfully, you should first know what risks you’re going to be taking. If you’re not comfortable with any risk, then don’t send weed in the mail. That’s the only way to abstain from any risk whatsoever. After you do make that postage drop, you’re essentially risking:
- Losing a package: This is the second-best scenario to successfully mailing it. Losing the package essentially means losing weed and losing money, but it’s not the worst case scenario.
- Getting caught: This is the worst case scenario. You’ve broken both state and federal laws. Even as a recipient you risk legal problems. You could face jail time; large amounts depending on the quantity and whether or not you are charged with intent to distribute.
Where to Mail Your Package
Well, it doesn’t really matter where you send it – because just putting it in the mailbox is illegal. But there are… varying degrees of illegality, aren’t there? So here is some information about the difference between mailing weed within the same state and mailing weed interstate.
Mailing Weed Interstate
Mailing across state lines is considered interstate commerce. Which technically puts it under federal jurisdiction. So we’re talking about a serious crime if you get caught mailing weed across state lines. The consequences of getting caught mailing interstate can be much more serious than mailing weed within the same state. In addition to being a federal crime, you open yourself up to prosecution under the state laws of whatever state(s) you are mailing from and to. For example, if you mail weed from Arkansas to Florida, you could be charged under Arkansas, Florida, and Federal laws.
Mailing Weed Locally
Sending weed packages in the same state is probably the safest option (note it’s still illegal). It is less likely that federal police would get involved, meaning that the gravity of your charge would be much less. Additionally, the fewer processing centers it has to go through, the less chance of discovery.
At the end of the day fellow weed friends, you can’t mail marijuana without any risk. Despite the modern age being fairly liberal in terms of buying, selling and smoking weed, we haven’t yet reached that freedom with mailing weed. Even if you package it correctly and take all of the necessary precautions, there’s still the possibility of your package encountering sniffer dogs at sorting facilities. Plus, with the number of people trying to get away with mailing weed, police have developed better detection technologies and strategies.
Choosing a Mailing Service
The postal service you choose can play a role in the final outcome, and we’re going to explain why. There are essentially two “categories” of postal service within the USA. The first is the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is an agency of the government. The second category is private postal companies (FedEx, UPS, DHL). As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to both – but ultimately, it ain’t legal to use either.
Mailing Weed With USPS
Some people would actually prefer to send with USPS, despite the fact that they are an agency of the federal government. There are a number of reasons behind this. The most important is that the USPS is subject to many rules about package inspection, according to the Fourth Amendment. Without a warrant, they cannot open and inspect a package. And they must have reasonable cause for a warrant. Having said that, the DEA does monitor the federal postage service – so there’s definitely cons involved, too.
The good news for those looking to ship marijuana is that since the USPS processes roughly 17.7 million mail pieces each hour, they simply do not have the resources to x-ray or have drug dogs sniff anywhere close to every package. The USPS does do random sampling of packages, but the sheer volume of boxes makes it unlikely that they would randomly check your package without a reason to. The same goes for contraband sniffing dogs. This is just as big a worry as random sampling packages to x-ray, but comes with the same caveat. The USPS is way too big an organization to check even a small fraction of the packages that move through it on a daily basis.
Pros of USPS: it’s often cheaper, doesn’t require a return address, and there’s less chance of package inspection.
Cons of USPS: they are a federal agency, subject to random sampling of packages and the possibility of contraband sniffing dogs.
Mailing Weed with Private Delivery Services
As we mentioned, the other option is a private mailing service such as DHL or FedEx. You may think these companies are safer because they aren’t part of the federal government, but don’t be so sure. You basically sign away any privacy to your package by sending with private organizations and the employees of these companies are notorious for opening packages and stealing. Additionally, they must comply with the federal government when it comes to trafficking laws etc.
Pros of DHL, FedEx, and UPS: not connected to the federal government.
Cons of DHL, FedEx, and UPS: expensive, requires return address, and employees may open packages.
Shipping Weed with Canada Post
If you happen to be in Canada, you’re in luck. The Canada Post does not use drug dogs unless they have a reason to. That means that unless your package smells like weed, or they have some other reason to think that there is marijuana inside, it is not going to be subject to any special checks, even random ones. The Canada Post is widely used for mailing weed, and while it is no more legal to ship than in the U.S., Canada has recreationally legalized marijuana as of 2018.
Mailing Vape Cartridges
This is just as illegal as mailing anything else that has THC in it, but one of the bonuses of mailing cartridges is that you do not have to hide any overpowering weed smells. This however is the only advantage, as it is still very much a felony to mail vape cartridges. In fact, mailing cartridges may land you a heavier sentence than mailing weed specifically because cartridges are classified as a concentrate. Think of it as being akin to mailing wax or hash; less volume to transport, but the government also takes these items more seriously than small amounts of weed. Additionally, although its less likely to stink up an entire room, the oil in cartridges can still be smelled by drug dogs. Even mailing nicotine vape cartridges is no longer legal for the layperson, due to the passage of the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act”.
How to Make Your Package Inconspicuous
You’ve reached this point because despite the number of times we’ve used the word “illegal”, you still insist on mailing marijuana. So now comes the next important step: packaging your weed and making it as inconspicuous as possible. We highly recommend that you don’t send more than one ounce. After this amount, the punishment gets significantly worse.
9 Things That Make Your Package Suspicious:
- Heavily taped seams
- Fake return addresses
- The sender or recipient’s name not correlating to the written address
- Handwritten labels
- Fake business names
- Shipping to/from known drug hotspots (i.e. Humboldt county is known for weed cultivation)
- Shipping large numbers of packages without running a business
- Not knowing the shipping address
- Looking or acting suspicious. You’re a normal person mailing a package. You don’t need dark sunglasses inside or a hat pulled over your eyes (although you may need a mask!).
As tempting as it might be, it’s riskier to use fake names and fake return addresses. Don’t use fake ZIP codes either. These are all things that throw up red flags. Also, be careful to spell everything correctly when you are filling out the shipping label; any labeling or packaging mistakes are one more reason for a human to examine your package.
How To Ship Weed:
- Mask the smell by using vacuum sealed bags. If you have to (you probably should), use several bags over the first bag which contains the marijuana.
- Use a brand new box
- Use the name of a business for the return address rather than the name of an individual
- Send it priority
Now, when it comes to covering up the smell of weed do not use sprays, deodorants or other scents. Other scents do not cover up the smell of weed. Plus, it also makes your package suspicious and dogs will still smell marijuana anyway.
As a final note, please do not forget that you will always be taking risks when mailing weed. The risk lies on both ends: you and/or the recipient might get into trouble. If your package gets lost, don’t go looking for it. Consider yourself lucky that you weren’t caught red handed and consider different options next time. While we at Smokers Only in no way endorse this highly illegal activity, if you do decide to try mailing weed, best of luck and remember to keep our tips in mind!