THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SEND WEED THROUGH THE MAIL
Aug. 9, 2018
With the passage of Colorado Amendment 64 in 2012, a new era of marijuana tolerance swept the state. As of January 1st, 2014, dispensaries which had gained the proper licensing from the state opened and began marijuana sales to the public. The result has been a steadily-increasing industry, with weed sales, including edibles, medicinal marijuana, and ancillary marijuana products, topping over $1.51 billion in 2017.While some other states are following Colorado’s lead on marijuana, few allow the sale of recreational weed.Colorado is therefore one of the few states affected by a whole new illegal industry:Weed shipping.
What Is Weed Shipping
What is weed shipping, you ask?Weed shipping includes for profit, black-market entrepreneurs, as well as friends trying to “help out” friends out of state.Picture this:Johnny has a friend named Debbie in Ohio who smokes marijuana.Debbie and Johnny go way back, and Debbie is having trouble getting weed in her home town.Johnny, always willing to help a friend, agrees to send Debbie an ounce of weed.He legally buys it at a local Colorado dispensary, legally brings it home, and legally packs it.He vacuum seals it, wipes it down with alcohol, vacuum seals it again, puts some coffee grounds in the bag, vacuum seals it again, and he’s ready to ship it.Nothing could go wrong, right?
How Weed Goes Wrong
Wrong.You absolutely can get into trouble for mailing weed.Once Johnny steps into a post office, or a UPS office, or a FedEx office intending to mail that package to Debbie in Ohio, he is committing a state offense and a federal offense.Just because marijuana is legal in Colorado does not mean that it is legal to distribute it out of state.In fact, it is illegal to transfer any amount over one ounce of weed even within the state.It is a Class 1 drug misdemeanor to distribute less than 4 ounces of weed.If Johnny were distributing over 4 ounces, even within the state, he would be looking at state drug felony charges. The federal consequences are far more serious.Remember, marijuana is still illegal federally.In fact it is still categorized federally as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.Schedule 1 drugs have the harshest federal penalties, and Johnny has no legal defense to any federal marijuana charges by virtue of the fact that weed is legal in Colorado.
The answer to the question “Can I get into trouble for mailing weed in Colorado” is an emphatic yes.Postal inspectors are aware that Colorado residents are doing this, and they are getting more and more aggressive with enforcement.They have drug K-9s tasked specifically with uncovering weed mailings at many area post offices, and they are conducting more and more stings specifically to catch people who are shipping weed out of state.No matter how much you like your friends back home, mailing weed just isn’t worth it.