how to ship pot

Why You Should Never Send Weed in the Mail

Monday September 17, 2018

T here are few government agencies with their own memorable children’s song, but sing the first few notes to, “here’s the mail, it never fails…” and any member of a certain generation of American youth is likely to give the full song in response. The American affinity for the US postal service is so extensive it even spawned multiple major motion pictures. However, the nation’s growing acceptance for legal cannabis is at odds with our affinity for shipping things – making the mail system off limits for marijuana businesses or consumers.

Until extensive laws change, let us be really clear, it is always a bad idea to send cannabis through the mail.

If that’s not enough to convince you that mailing weed is a bad idea, we’ll break it down even further to specifically highlight the main reasons why sending cannabis via the mail is something no cannabis consumer should ever consider.

It’s Illegal

Cannabis is still federally illegal and considered a schedule 1 drug, meaning that sending it through the mail amounts to trafficking. According to the DEA’s 2017 ominously titled “Drugs of Abuse” report, the most minimal of offenses possible (anything under 50kg of product, or 1-49 plants) is punishable by up to five years jail time and a fine of $250,000.

If you get arrested with friends, they can charge up to $1 million to the group. Second offenses will double that, and it only gets worse for larger amounts. The US postal service is also a federal agency, meaning aside from cannabis laws, you can also be charged with misuse of mail and other mail-tampering related offenses. Even if the state you reside in is generally cool with it and decides to not prosecute, wherever it is arriving might be a different story, and each place can decide to prosecute however it pleases. Sending cannabis through the mail is definitively illegal in any circumstance, unless you are acting on behalf of a federal agency with the approved paperwork, which lets be honest, if you’re reading this article, that’s probably not the case.

Sender and Receiver are Both Equally at Fault

Maybe you’re thinking, “not my address, not my problem, it’s on whomever receives it.” This is flat out false. Both sides can be charged. People tend not to realize how well tracked the mail is, either by USPS or private companies like UPS or FedEx, and using things like fake names or addresses is actually a red flag to federal agencies, and is more likely to get your shipment flagged. All of the loopholes and workarounds that you’ll hear from friends are usually just wishful thinking.

Say Goodbye to a Future in Cannabis

If you work in the cannabis industry, or have any aspirations of getting into it, that would become impossible after a charge. Even if someone was okay with risking a fine or jail time, those in the cannabis industry may also be risking their livelihood.

In many legalized states, workers have to be licensed in order to be allowed to work in the marijuana industry, and the determination of that licensing is largely based on past criminal record, especially in relation to cannabis. Most consider having a clean criminal record the only requirement for holding a badge, so sending a package means effectively risking that possibility.

Risk Losing Your Product

It’s probably the least of one’s concerns, but it’s still a huge bummer. Though prices are constantly falling, cannabis still costs money. Even if nothing legal happens, the product is likely to be confiscated. Every year, the DEA publishes data on the amount of seized cannabis. In 2017, the record was broken for cannabis seized leaving Colorado through the mail, and it became so problematic in Oregon that its US Attorney issued an editorial about how overproduction was driving the black market. He stated, “In 2017 alone, postal agents in Oregon seized 2,644 pounds of marijuana in outbound parcels. ”

Without question, a lot of pot isn’t winding up at its destination, and your package is likely to be part of it. After it doesn’t arrive, you’ll get to play the fun waiting game of wondering if you’re going to be charged for it or not. Which, doesn’t always happen the way you’d expect…

The Government Probably Knows You Did It

So, maybe someone you know got a package of marijuana in the mail. Bravo, all is well. Clearly no one is watching, because it worked, right? Nope. Often, it’s not advantageous for the federal government to go through the process of prosecuting someone who has broken the law, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know about it, and won’t keep a record.

If it ever becomes advantageous to use that information at a later time, they can. Statutes of limitations will vary from state to state, but are generally longer for drug trafficking than drug possession. The current limit in California is five years from the date of the incident, just to give you an idea. One postal agent who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity put it simply, “We know. We always know. It’s either not worth the time, or we’re waiting for the right time.” Usually, after first being detected, they start to watch your activity and wait to see if there’s a larger charge to prosecute you for while you continue to send packages under a false sense of security, continuing to incriminate yourself.

The Consequences Outweigh the Risks

If you’re an upstanding citizen who would like to continue living freely in America, then it’s obvious you should never mail cannabis – no matter how lucrative it may be or how desperately someone may be asking you. Next time your friend begs you to just send out a few grams or a couple edibles, tell them to consider putting the money towards a plane ticket so they can come visit your wonderful legalized state and enjoy marijuana safely and legally.

Do you have anything to add to why mailing cannabis is a bad idea? Share your thoughts below!

Mailing cannabis is a serious offense and can leave you with some pretty hefty consequences if you're caught. Learn more about why mailing marijuana is never a good idea and some of the steep ramifications that you could face if caught.

Packing Pottery and Ceramics for Safe Shipping

Beth E Peterson

Packing pottery and ceramics for a big move? First, gather your materials and supplies before you begin to pack pottery for mailing or shipping. You will need:

  • A clean table surface to work on
  • A pair of good scissors
  • A utility knife or box cutter
  • Clear shipping tape (with a tape gun, if available)
  • A clean plastic bag
  • Cushioning material such as bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and extra plastic bags for wadding
  • The smallest box possible, while leaving enough room for the pot plus one to two inches of cushioning material on all sides
  • Your pot

Avoid using packing peanuts. They have a thin coating of oil that can get onto pots (and other crafts or artwork). They also do not help with the most important thing of all when mailing or shipping anything fragile, freezing the object in place, which we will be talking about next.

‘Freeze’ Your Pot

It is vital to “freeze” the pottery in place when packing it for mailing or shipping. The pot should not be able to move in any direction once it is in the box.

It is for this reason that loose-pack cushioning material is not the best choice. Loose-packed material can shift during handling and transportation, which in turn can make the pot more likely to be damaged.

The best choice is a box just big enough to fit the pot after it has been wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap. The bubble wrapping should be a minimum of one inch thick, or two to three inches for large items. Fill any open areas with more bubble wrap, solid pieces of Styrofoam, or wadded plastic grocery bags.

How to Pack Pottery in a Box That Is Too Large

If the only box you have available is too large for the piece of pottery, it is essential that you fill the empty space in such a way that the pottery and its cushioning material cannot move inside the box. As you fill the empty space, add material so that the pot remains as close to the center of the box as possible.

If you have sheets of foam board available, it can be cut to the right dimensions and layered to fill up the empty space. Other solid forms that have a bit of give to them can also be used.

In the example photo, you can see that the pot is packed in a Styrofoam container (the cushioning material), with the blue box on either side. Both these blue boxes were empty. We filled them with wadded plastic grocery bags to stabilize them, then taped them closed.

Once inserted into the main box, they keep the pot and its cushion from moving side to side. The empty space at the top will be filled with more wadded plastic bags.

How to Pack Multiple Pots for Shipment

There are times when you may want to pack more than one pot at a time. For example, the photo is of pots made by Rose (Pots4MyPlants on the Pottery Forum) shows how she packs pottery that she is taking to a show. Rose uses upholstery foam, bubble wrap, and heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

Note how each pot is separated from everything else by a two-inch “sleeve” of solid packing material. This reduces the chance of pots breaking due to knocking against each other as well as the outside of the box. It also ensures a snug fit; freezing the pottery in place remains paramount.

If you are packing layers of pottery, separate each pottery layer with a two-inch (or more) layer of solid packing material, such as upholstery foam, Styrofoam, or foam-core. Be sure to have layers of solid packing material on the bottom and top of the box, as well. (If you are driving your pottery yourself, you may opt for open-top boxes. These will not need the packing material on top, but you do need to be careful you don’t overturn the boxes while driving.)

Complete the Packing of the Pottery to Be Shipped

Once the pottery has been packed, it is time to complete the packaging ready for shipping or mailing. Before sealing the box, carefully look over each of its sides. Remove any old shipping labels, especially any that contain bar codes. Any bar codes or bar code fragments will confuse the machinery used to process your package.

Close the box so that the top lays flat. Do not interlace the flaps. Make certain that the outermost set of flaps meet without gaps or overlaps. If there are overlaps, add more packing material until the box is completely filled.

Holding the box firmly side to side and working at one end of the box, attach the shipping tape to the side of the box facing away from you. Draw the tape up and over the top of the box, keeping the flaps firmly in place, and down three to four inches on the side nearest you. Cut the tape free.

Do the same for the other end of the box. Then, do the same following the seam where the two flaps meet so that the tape overlaps both sides of the seam. On the photo, the tape placement is highlighted with yellow arrows.

Place your label to the right on the top of the box. This leaves room for the postage or shipping labels. Double-check to make certain all old labels and bar codes are removed. (highlighted on the photo with red arrows.)

You are now ready to take your packed pottery to the post office or shipping service.

Learn how to safely pack pottery and ceramics to mail or ship with simple tips of how to pack it so it won't break.