Are you thinking about mailing some weed or THC edibles? Well, here’s everything you need to know about it, summarized with examples. This article is about the United States laws only.
- Laws Around Mailing Weed Edibles
- Mailing Hemp-Related Products
- Mail Edibles Through Private Companies
Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.
Laws Around Mailing Weed Edibles
I’ll say this upfront so there is no misunderstanding.
It is illegal to mail edibles within the USA, regardless of where you are sending from or to. This is because marijuana is still a controlled substance at the federal level, and the USPS is a federal organization. The same is true for any products containing marijuana or THC, such as vape cartridges, oils, resin, flower, and so on. Now, just to make it super clear, a few examples.
Mailing Edibles from an Illegal State to a Legal State
For this example, say we want to mail weed edibles from Alabama to Washington. This would be illegal.
Mailing Edibles from a Legal State to an Illegal State
For this example, say we now want to mail weed edibles from Washington to Alabama. This would also. be illegal. And, this would be illegal regardless of how many “illegal states” the package would have to go through. If you mailed edibles from Colorado to Wyoming, two bordering states, this would still be illegal.
Mailing Edibles within a Legal State
For this example, say we want to mail weed edibles from Los Angeles to San Francisco. This would still be illegal, even if the package never leaves California. See the trend here?
Mailing Edibles within an Illegal State
Hopefully, this one goes without saying, but this is also illegal. Kinda obvious at this point, if you can’t mail from within California or Colorado, then you obviously can’t mail within Alabama, Georgia, etc…
Penalties for Mailing Controlled Substances
The penalties for mailing marijuana or THC products can be severe and vary based on several factors, including the quantity of the substance, the geographic areas involved, and whether it crosses state lines. Consequences can include:
- Criminal Charges: Individuals caught mailing THC or marijuana edibles can face federal criminal charges. These charges can lead to a criminal record, which carries long-term implications for employment, housing, and more.
- Fines and Imprisonment: Penalties can range from substantial fines to imprisonment. For larger quantities, individuals may face lengthy prison sentences, often several years.
- Enhanced Penalties: If the mailing involves crossing state lines, especially into states where marijuana is illegal, penalties can be more severe. Additionally, if the case involves other aggravating factors, such as the intention to distribute or sell, the consequences can be even more significant.
State Laws and Complications
While some states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, these state laws do not supersede federal laws regarding the mailing of controlled substances. This means that even if you are mailing from one legal state to another, it is still a federal offense.
Mailing Hemp-Related Products
The ONLY exception to the above is products made from hemp or CBD oil. But, to legally mail these products you will need:
- a license to produce industrial hemp
- the THC content of the product/s to be no greater than 0.3%
You can find out more details about these requirements from the USPS website.
Detection Methods Used by Postal Services
Postal services and law enforcement agencies employ various methods to detect illegal substances in mail, including drug-sniffing dogs and advanced scanning technologies. Understanding these methods can underscore the risks involved in mailing THC or marijuana edibles. Here’s an in-depth look at the detection methods used, complemented by real-world examples.
Advanced Scanning Technology
Postal services employ a range of high-tech scanning devices to inspect packages for contraband. But these high-tech scanners can spot weird stuff inside packages without opening them, like if there’s something denser than what you’d normally expect to see. For instance, X-ray machines are used to see inside packages without opening them, identifying objects that are denser than what would be expected in a typical parcel.
- Personal Example: In a case from New York, a routine scan of a package revealed an unusual density. When the cops took a closer look, they found loads of weed-infused snacks hiding in plain sight as ordinary munchies.
Canine Narcotics Detection
These expertly trained pooches, known as drug-detection dogs, are key players in the postal service’s toolkit; their impressive olfactory abilities allow them to sniff out a range of drugs like marijuana—even when hidden in edibles—speeding up mail screening processes.
One of the most effective tools in the postal service’s arsenal is the use of drug-sniffing dogs. These trained canines can detect a variety of substances, including marijuana, even when it’s concealed within edibles. Their super sharp sniffers let them check tons of mail in a flash, which is why they’re so precious.
- Personal Example: A drug-sniffing dog at a postal facility in California alerted handlers to a suspicious package. So, the dog’s keen nose led to a big find: a stash of THC-loaded gummies craftily camouflaged among regular candies.
Postal workers and inspectors are trained to recognize suspicious behavior and package characteristics. But postal workers watch for weird stuff like too much tape or funny smells because it could mean drugs or something illegal. Postal workers keep an eye out for suspicious shipping patterns that might mean illegal stuff’s going down.
- Personal Example: A postal worker in Colorado noticed a pattern of heavy, oddly-shaped packages being sent regularly from a specific address. Spotting this odd pattern led to a deep dive that revealed a massive scheme of shipping pot-infused snacks all over the nation.
Collaboration with Law Enforcement
Postal services often work in close collaboration with local and federal law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement and postal services team up to bust drug traffickers.
- Personal Example: In a coordinated effort between the USPS and the DEA, a tip-off led to the interception of a package containing a large stash of marijuana edibles. The sender was being watched because he was suspected of dealing drugs.
Chemical Detection Equipment
Some postal facilities use sophisticated chemical detection equipment that can identify specific substances within a package. Some postal centers use high-tech chemical sniffers to spot weed in packages.
- Personal Example: A postal center in Florida used chemical detection technology to identify trace amounts of THC on the exterior of a package. Upon further probing, a sizable trove of edibles laced with THC was discovered hidden inside.
Public Tip-offs and Whistleblowers
Sometimes, the crucial information comes from the public or postal employees who report suspicious packages or activities. But getting anonymous tips helps inspectors big time in catching shady packages and busting illegal shipments.
- Personal Example: After receiving an anonymous tip, postal inspectors in Oregon intercepted a package that was found to contain a large number of homemade THC cookies, leading to the arrest of the sender.
Mail Edibles Through Private Companies
A lot of people think that mailing marijuana, THC, Delta or MMJ edibles (brownies, candies, mints, THC drinks, etc…) or related products through UPS, DHL, FedEx, or any other private mail company is a smarter alternative. It is not.
In fact, because these are private companies, they can all legally open up any parcel or piece of mail they want, without a warrant. If mailing through the USPS, because it’s a federal agency, they are legally required to acquire a search warrant. A search warrant can be obtained from the smell of weed coming from a package, or other suspicions.
Even though the USPS can easily obtain a search warrant for a package, they are still often the preferred method for people mailing cannabis and its derivatives within the United States.
Workarounds for Mailing MMJ
Some other suggestions to use at your own risk for mailing edibles would be:
- packaging counts for MMJ items, make it as discrete as possible
- Don’t use a return address and pay cash for the postage (basically nothing to connect you to the transaction)
- use a fake name for the receiver
- Don’t require a signature for the delivery
- You’ll still get a tracking number so this is good if you want to know it has been delivered
- Finally, to sum up. It’s illegal so use it at your own risk or peril.
Legal Alternatives to Mailing
For those seeking legal and safe ways to obtain cannabis products, purchasing from licensed dispensaries in states where it’s legal is the best option. These dispensaries adhere to strict regulations regarding the quality and potency of their products. Hemp-based products with low THC content are also a legal alternative in many areas.
Purchasing from Licensed Dispensaries
The most straightforward and legal way to acquire THC or marijuana edibles is through licensed dispensaries in states where cannabis is legalized. These dispensaries are regulated by state laws and are required to comply with strict safety and quality standards.
Utilizing Cannabis Delivery Services
In some legal states, cannabis delivery services are a convenient and legal alternative. These services are regulated and licensed, offering a similar level of product quality and safety as physical dispensaries.
Zak Voss, the founder of The THC Times, brings over 15 years of experience in the cannabis industry, blending his engineering background with extensive legal and technical expertise. Renowned for his consultancy in cannabis legalities and indoor growing environments, Zak is a vital guide for navigating the complex cannabis landscape.