Let’s say a hometown buddy reaches out asking to send a care package of some top-shelf marijuana buds and a couple of infused goodies. This request may seem like a good idea at first, and you may feel like the plug if you pull it off, but don’t do it. The risk is just not worth the reward. Mailing marijuana, even from a legalized state, is not a good idea. In fact, it’s federally illegal to ship cannabis to any state. Remember, marijuana may be legal in individual states, but the federal government stands firm on its prohibition of marijuana. Don’t be fooled; state legalization does not lighten the weight of the federal government’s consequences.
Poor Mailing Ideas
It’s not uncommon to come across someone who has successfully sent a package of marijuana through the mail. This person may swear on his or her process and promise that they have it down. Again, it is not the factor of being caught easily that should worry people, instead, it is the long-term consequences that will come if you’re caught mailing marijuana. For those who are still questioning this decision, let’s go through a few reasons why mailing marijuana is a poor idea.
If you are thinking that using a private shipping company is safe and that they do not check their packages more often, you are sorely mistaken. Organizations like FedEx and UPS have written drug policies in place. They have the right to check packages that they deem as unusual or suspicious, and are not held to the Fourth Amendment nearly as much as USPS.
- You may be thinking that if USPS does not have a drug policy, nor do they have as much leniency on when they can open packages, then mailing marijuana with them should be much more relaxed, you are wrong. Not only is this a federal jurisdiction, but USPS is aware of this problem and have cracked down on confiscating suspicious packages.
- Many people think that using a wrong return address and a different name completely limits the risk. However, this can also draw attention to the package. Plus, if you’re caught forging other information, the consequences can be drastically worse. Forging an address also takes away all chances of the package being lost and returned. Not that people would want this returned to their door, but the risk of losing the marijuana product becomes much higher.
What if you send shatter instead of cannabis flower? Again, it’s not a good idea. While many states are beginning to recognize specific forms of medical marijuana, concentrates are not widely understood. If caught sending high potency products such as shatter, the consequences could be far worse.
Potential Consequences of Mailing Marijuana
There are a few different factors that come into play when determining the consequences of mailing marijuana. For instance, how much cannabis is in the package? In what state was it sent? Was money exchanged or was it a gift? Since mailing marijuana is a federal crime, this falls under federal jurisdiction. In turn, the state laws don’t tend to affect the consequences, but depending on the circumstances it may help ease your case.
How much was sent?
The answer to this helps the government determine whether or not they deem the suspect as a kingpin dealer or a low-level stoner. Yes, this does play a significant role in the sentencing of mailing marijuana. Those who are considered kingpins will likely serve jail time. The intent to distribute must be shown to be considered a dealer and charge as such.
In what state was it sent?
The state you mailed it from doesn’t make too much of a difference. Even if the package shipped from a legalized state, the federal government doesn’t care. However, it may help them to understand why the decision was made to mail the marijuana. If it was lack of judgment and understanding of the law, that’s one thing. If it was premeditated and planned, then it doesn’t matter. If a package ships to a state that has not legalized marijuana, then both federal and state charges may be brought forward. A state that has legalized marijuana may deem this as solely a federal issue and not push the state’s agenda.
Was money exchanged?
This question is an essential factor in determining the consequences. There are a ton of tourists visiting legalized states without any knowledge of the laws and regulations. If a tourist makes a mistake and mails a package back home, their case is far less severe than a Colorado native who has been mailing marijuana for years. It’s safe to assume that the tourist who sent a care package back home is not selling the marijuana. Someone who is mailing marijuana and receiving payment for doing so is considered a drug trafficker in the eyes of the government. In turn, the consequences will likely be much more severe.
There are quite a few cases out there relating to mailing marijuana. While the outcomes of these cases vary quite a bit, they are all-around grave consequences. There are cases where defendants have been found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, while others may go on probation for a few years. The severity of the sentence depends on those three questions above. Either way, the risk-versus-reward is simply not worth it. Mailing marijuana is a quick way to lose the right to recreational marijuana and pull from the professionalism of this growing industry.
Learn more about cannabis rules and regulations here!
Content in this article is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by legal counsel. Always seek the guidance of legal counsel with any questions you may have.