Why Shipping Marijuana in the U.S. is a Bad Idea
Although attitudes about marijuana have become more accepting, and more states are legalizing recreational use, the fact remains that marijuana is federally prohibited. In Florida, there are several marijuana charges you may face at the state level. However, sending marijuana or a substance that derives from it by mail can bring federal charges.
If you visit a state where recreational pot use is legal — such as Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Vermont, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington, D.C. — you can’t bring some back with you. Nor can you have it shipped to yourself or a friend, even if you live in a state where it’s legal. Postal workers with the USPS, UPS, and FedEx have the authority to inspect suspicious packages, and over the years have seized literally tons of weed.
Once the police catch wind that you sold or received a package containing marijuana, both parties may be criminally charged with a federal offense. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. In 2016, UPS alone seized 36,000 pounds of marijuana. You need to understand the charges against you and work with a knowledgeable marijuana defense lawyer for the best chance at securing a bright future.
Marijuana is Still a Schedule I Substance
While many consider marijuana’s physical and cognitive effects to be milder than those of alcohol, the drug is still a Schedule I substance, meaning that shipping it anywhere in the U.S. is considered trafficking — a federal crime. Trafficking marijuana at the federal level can lead to several years of imprisonment and crushing fines. The most minimal marijuana trafficking charge per the Drug Enforcement Agency states that a person may face…
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Fines of up to $250,000
… for trafficking 1 to 49 plants or less than 50kg of marijuana. If a group of people is involved, the entire group could face a fine of up to $1 million. A second trafficking offense leads to double the penalties. Since the USPS is a federal agency, shipping marijuana through them may lead to other mail-related charges, like mail tampering.
Senders and Receivers are Considered Equally At Fault
If you ship marijuana from a state where it’s legal and prosecutors don’t bother to hold you accountable, that doesn’t mean the recipient of your package will face the same sentiment. It’s highly likely that police will find out about your package and that, once it’s discovered, both parties will face trafficking charges. If you purchase marijuana from a seller in a state where it’s legal, that seller’s package to you will likely raise red flags whether it’s shipped via USPS or a private agency. Fake names, weird shapes, and other factors make packages look suspicious. Once a postal worker detects a suspicious package, they may receive a warrant to inspect it.
What makes a package look suspicious?
- Unusual weight relative to its size
- Odd shape
- Leaking a substance
- Excessive postage
- Questionable name
- Able to feel foil or wiring inside from the outside of the package
- A dirty or grease-stained package
Some agencies may employ drug dogs to detect the presence of marijuana in packages flagged as suspicious. While law enforcement officials seize tens of thousands of pounds of weed, legitimate sellers risk losing valuable products in the process on top of potentially facing drug trafficking charges.
You’ll Likely be Monitored by the Government
Even if you get away with sending a package containing marijuana once or twice, there’s a very slim chance that the government doesn’t know about it. They could be waiting for you to send a larger shipment to bring a more severe trafficking charge against you. It’s often not worth the resources for the federal government to prosecute lesser offenses; but, if you were to bet that someone knows about the nature of the packages you’re sending, you’d likely win that bet.
Government officials might be keeping track of your trafficking activities and may be waiting to level that information at a later time when it’s more useful to them. It’s generally best to avoid the risk at all costs and not send marijuana by mail.
Unfortunately, even if you receive marijuana in the mail and don’t know about it, police can still arrest you. Whether you sent or received a package containing marijuana, THC oil, or another pot product, and got caught, you deserve quality representation in court.
Put Your Trust in the Marijuana Trafficking Lawyers with The Umansky Law Firm
If you’ve been charged with marijuana trafficking at the state or federal level, you need competent legal counsel as soon as possible. A federal drug trafficking conviction is very serious and you could be looking at significant prison time and a destructive criminal record. One of our drug trafficking lawyers can meet with you during your free case review to go over all of your case information and begin structuring your case with our strategic planning tool. We have board-certified federal lawyers on staff.
To schedule a free case review with an attorney at The Umansky Law Firm, complete our contact form or call our office at any time of day.