While marijuana is now legal in some states, you are still not allowed to send it through the US mail. If you do so, you may face severe penalties, as it is considered drug trafficking. Around 1,000 people are arrested daily for drug trafficking via the U.S. Postal Service. Why do people keep sending marijuana via USPS? Because it provides protection thanks to the Fourth Amendment.
According to a drug mailing attorney, postal workers cannot open any package without probable cause and a search warrant under federal law. For example, carriers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS do not offer such protection, and they can open packages at their discretion.
What Are the Consequences of Mailing Marijuana?
If you use the Postal Service for illegal activities and get caught, you may face hefty penalties. Because the United States Postal Service is a federal entity, using it to deliver drugs can result in a felony charge. While some states have legalized marijuana, it still represents a schedule 1 drug under federal law. So, trafficking 1 to 49 plants or less than 50kg of marijuana can land you in jail for a minimum of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Furthermore, if you mail large amounts of marijuana or other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, the penalties will significantly increase. Mailing marijuana through USPS can also lead to other mail-related charges, such as mail tampering.
The penalties will be not only apply to you as a sender but to the recipient too. Suppose you know you are about to receive a package of marijuana or other drugs. Then you will be considered equally guilty. Moreover, you might face drug trafficking charges in the state the package was mailed and the state where you received it.
On the other hand, if you receive marijuana in the mail by mistake, you will not face charges. Mailing hemp, however, is another story. Under the Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products that contain a THC content of less than 0.3 percent (including most CBD products) were federally legalized. However, such products can only be mailed via USPS by a licensed industrial hemp producer.
What Makes a Drug Package Look Suspicious?
Now that the U.S. Postal Service is off the table, you may wonder about other couriers. You may think that third-party agencies such as FedEx or UPS have less of an interest in holding up federal law. While USPS needs to obtain a warrant to open a suspicious package, third-party couriers can simply open it. Separately, all couriers have expressed their desire to cooperate with the federal government regarding drug trafficking.
So, whenever they see a suspicious package, they are free to open it. Some indicators that packages are suspicious include the following:
- Odd shape
- Excessive postage
- Unusual weight relative to the package size
- Dirty or grease-stained package
- Questionable or fake names
- Can feel wiring or foil inside from the outside of the package
- Leaking a substance
Some agencies can employ drug dogs to depict the presence of marijuana in suspicious packages.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking at the federal and state level, you should put your trust in the drug mailing attorney. A federal marijuana and drug trafficking conviction is exceptionally severe, as you might be looking at significant prison time and a serious criminal record. More than that, Florida has some of the harshest laws in the United States, so if you face charges for mailing drugs, you need aggressive legal representation immediately.