We often get asked how safe it is to mail cannabis, particularly across state lines in the US or even abroad. Are inspectors looking out for cannabis in the mail? Is it legal? Are you likely to get caught? If so, what’s the penalty for mailing or receiving weed in the post?
The truth is that the United States Postal Service does keep an eye out for drugs trafficking. After all, sticking your drugs in the mail is pretty easy to do. And more of us do it than you would probably think.
Let’s take a closer look at the current state of play and what you should, if anything, be worried about. We advise you read this carefully before you seal up the envelope with cannabis in it and send it out through the post.
You’re about to be unpleasantly surprised.
The War on Drugs
We all have access to sites that sell drugs and we can reach out with a few clicks of a mouse button or a couple of taps on our mobile phones to get what we want. It’s easy to buy and sell practically anything nowadays, even if it is illegal.
The truth is that most of these individuals on the dark net use still the good, old-fashioned US Postal Service to get their product from A to B.
But marijuana is legal, isn’t it? There’s no problem here? Yes, in many states cannabis is allowed for both recreational and medicinal use.
Here’s the thing, though. It is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act and that means you can’t mail it to anyone. We’ll let that sink in for a moment.
US Postal Service inspectors are currently fighting a huge battle against the importation of illegal drugs, so you have to give them some leeway. Many of these narcotics are pretty dangerous, after all. And they are only applying the letter of the law.
Whatever you feel about the legality or otherwise of cannabis, you just have to accept that mailing weed is not allowed under federal law. And that’s unlikely to change soon. You may think it’s a little absurd. Many people do. But that doesn’t escape from the fact that, if you get caught, you can spend some significant time behind bars.
Mailing Weed: What Are the Statistics?
Postal inspectors are federal agents, the real deal, on a par with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The latest stats show that thousands of people are arrested each year for some form of drug trafficking offense through the mail. It can be difficult to get exact figures from the USPS but in 2013, postal inspectors discovered about 9,000 parcels containing in total about 47,000 pounds of weed.
There were 2,622 arrests for mailing controlled substances but it’s not clear how many of these were actually mailing weed. The truth is, however, that marijuana is the most often intercepted drug in the US. You shouldn’t be surprised by this as it’s legal in many states. Many people are posting out their weed without even realizing they are breaking the law.
There is some evidence that the levels of cannabis seized have come down in recent years. That’s probably because more stores are opening in legal states which means people don’t have to post out anymore or at least they are posting less. It could also be because many companies know that it’s a federal crime to be mailing weed inside and outside the US. They certainly don’t want to get into trouble.
No knows, however, how much marijuana actually gets through the postal system. The inspectors may well only be seeing the tip of the iceberg. There are millions of letters and parcels posted across the US every day. It’s fair to say that the large majority mailing weed are getting their deliveries through. But that doesn’t mean you will never get caught.
Why Do So Many Risk Mailing Weed?
With strict penalties in force and our intrepid US Postal Service inspectors looking out for drugs of all sorts, it’s a surprise that people still use this method of delivery.
One reason may be down to confusion. Many people think, just because cannabis is legal in their state, that it’s safe to start mailing weed anywhere in the country. They don’t realize it is a federal crime and that they could go to jail because they haven’t bothered to check the rules.
The other issue might be that people think it is safer. They’re prepared to take the risk of getting caught to have a product they can rely on, rather than buying from some shady crook on a street corner where they could risk personal injury. That could particularly apply to those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes and aren’t used to the darker side of obtaining drugs.
Before cannabis was legalized in many states, most of our drugs were transported over the border from Mexico. It’s only since businesses have started making their homegrown product that the power and influence of the cartels have been diminished, at least for cannabis. There is growing opinion that mailing weed should be decriminalized if states are now making recreational and medicinal use legal – there doesn’t seem a point in prohibition in this sense.
It would also give Americans the chance to build a cannabis industry that provides more jobs and opportunities. But don’t hold your breath if you think it’s going to happen within the next couple f years. Drugs law is not high on the federal agenda, even if stats have their own way of doing things.
Other Postal Services and Mailing Weed
Of course, USPS isn’t the only postal service available. There are others.
So, are you better off trying anther company and will you be less likely to get caught? The big ones that come to mind are FedEx, DHL and UPS. Actually, you may be more at risk.
Currently the US Postal Service needs a warrant to open your mail under the 4th Amendment. Private companies stipulate in their rules and regulations that they reserve the right to open any package they deem as suspicious, and that includes ones which may contain drugs.
It’s even been to the Supreme Court for a ruling – you can’t expect your parcel to be private at all if you use one of these companies. FedEx was even taken to court at one point and charged with playing a roll in trafficking drugs because they weren’t being so vigilant. That would suggest private courier firms are likely to be checking your parcel if you are mailing weed as they are trying to avoid prosecution and perhaps a hefty fine in the US.
At the end of the day, therefore, the US Postal Service could well be the safer bet if you are planning on mailing weed anytime soon. That’s pretty cold comfort.
What If I Get Caught Mailing Weed?
The big question, of course, is what happens if you do get caught mailing weed? While the US Postal Service may only be intercepting a fraction of the drugs passed through the mail, they do have some success. Budget cuts and a loss of employees haven’t helped, neither has the fact that their detection mechanisms remain relatively unsophisticated. That works in your favor but it’s not a chanceless pursuit.
If you are caught mailing weed, the chances are you will be looking at a prison sentence. It’s still classed as a Schedule 1 drug and any amount under 50 grams could see you getting five years in the nearest penitentiary. That’s irrespective of whether the cannabis was for your own use or you were just doing a favor for a friend. As you might expect, for larger amounts you could be facing much more jail time.
There is the story of a Texan who went to Colorado and bought about $50,000 of cannabis. Mailing the weed to his home address seemed a good idea but along the way someone at USPS decided his packages looked suspicious. When he went to his local postal depot to pick up the delivery, the cops were waiting for him. He now faces the possibility of between 8 and 24 years in prison.
Mailing Cannabis Seeds
While mailing weed is illegal in the US and in many other countries, mailing cannabis seeds is not. That may sound slightly counterintuitive but seeds are not actually a drug – they can just be grown into one. For example, it’s legal to buy cannabis seeds over the counter or have them posted to you in the UK but it is illegal to germinate those seeds and grow a cannabis plant.
It’s always important to check the law where you live and whether it is legal to receive cannabis seeds, irrespective of whether you grow them or not. We do not advise mailing weed in the US or anywhere else – the risk is just not worth it.
We offer discreet packaging & delivery insurance options when you order cannabis seeds on our online store.