Since the legalization of marijuana in several US states, the government has begun to crack down wherever it can to prevent its illegal distribution across borders. Part of this effort has taken place via the US Postal Service. In 2012, for example, the USPS seized 42,000 pounds of marijuana from roughly 7,600 parcels of mail. Despite these numbers, many have taken to sending marijuana by mail so as to avoid transporting it personally across borders.
Despite the creative methods that some have developed in order to mail marijuana discretely, mail carriers continue to seize thousands of illegal parcels annually. And while it might seem like a safer option than personal transportation, the reality is that using the US Postal Service to transport hazardous or illegal substances is a federal offense.
The Legal Implications of Mailing Marijuana with the USPS
As a federal agency, any illegal use of USPS services qualifies as a federal offense. Despite that marijuana is legal in several states, it remains illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, and is therefore viewed in the same light as other narcotics. A marijuana parcel intercept of fewer than 50 grams can lead to upwards of 5 years in federal prison. In fact, more than 1,000 suspects are arrested annually by mail inspectors for trafficking drugs and laundering money throughout the US.
As such, some people believe that private carriers like UPS and FedEX are a safer option for mailing marijuana, simply because they are not a federal institution like the USPS. But that assumption is dangerous, because these private carriers reserve the right to open and inspect packages at their own discretion. If a private carrier discovers illegal substances, they will notify local authorities, and the distributor is charged accordingly.
Penalties for Mailing Marijuana
As mentioned above, any violation of USPS policies is invariably considered a federal crime. Further, marijuana is still viewed in the US as a Schedule I drug, meaning that an intercept of fewer than 50 grams could mean a penalty of 5 years in federal prison. Above 50 grams, the penalties rise considerably. When a package is seized, it’s at the discretion of the prosecutor to determine whether the mailer, the recipient, or both will be charged. Anyone with knowledge or participation in the act of mailing marijuana is, therefore, liable to the above charges.
Have a Salt Lake Marijuana Lawyer By Your Side
If you’re facing marijuana charges in Utah, you’ll want an attorney who knows the ins and outs of these complicated laws. A criminal defense attorney like Clayton Simms can help you determine the best course of action based on your charges, and can even help you turn your marijuana charges in your favor. Visit his site today to learn more.