Can I ship cannabis?
Compliance Jun 01
By Chad Frey 0 Comments

Let’s start off by saying that the shipment of marijuana, as defined in 21 U.S.C. §802(16), is prohibited under any circumstances.  Even when marijuana is for medicinal purposes or is otherwise legal under a state’s law. Now that we’ve cleared that up, a lot of people don’t realize that marijuana and hemp have two completely different classifications by law.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still (mysteriously) considered a Schedule 1 drug. Which, according to the United States government, means it has great potential for being harmful and abused. It also means that it’s not accepted as medicine. We know…mind-boggling.

Under the 2014 and 2018 USDA Farm Bills, certain hemp and hemp-derived products can be shipped via USPS, FedEx, and UPS— but only if certain conditions are met. Below is summarized guidance for those that want to stay in the know.

SO WHAT’S THE DEAL ABOUT SHIPPING CANNABIS?

The hemp-derived industry is having a moment. It shouldn’t take you long to notice that it’s one of the fastest-growing categories.  With products ranging from infused water and toothpaste to CBD oil for dog treats and even activewear.

Cannabis with a THC concentration above 0.3% (aka “marijuana”) is illegal in many countries, including in the U.S. under federal law, and in several U.S. states. However, cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (aka “hemp”) is legal at the federal level, but legality differs across states. When it comes to buying/selling hemp-derived products, you’ll want to check the state-specific laws regarding the products you’re purchasing.

Products that include hemp, like alcohol, have legal limits on the quantities of certain ingredients that can be included in products — specifically, THC.

This is all because of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production at the federal level across the United States. The Farm Bill states that as long as the hemp in your hemp-derived products contains no more than 0.3% THC, the product is not a federally controlled substance.

CAN YOU SHIP HEMP-DERIVED CANNABIS PRODUCTS?

Yes. But shipping hemp-derived products (like delta 9 gummies) is a somewhat complicated matter, as you not only have to comply with any shipping carrier requirements. You also have to ensure it’s legal to ship from the place of origin and legal to receive the product at its destination.

Be aware that even though hemp-derived products are much more widely accepted and legalized than marijuana-containing products, they’re still closely monitored and regulated. Here are the things to look for when determining if the products you’re purchasing are legit.

TIPS FOR BUYING CANNABIS ONLINE

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself while in search of hemp-derived products:

  • Get to know the brand/supplier. Make sure your suppliers have all relevant licenses for industrial hemp production. Obtain copies of their certifications and keep them in your files.
  • Make sure the products are tested. Periodic lab tests (certificates of analysis) will ensure that the THC level in hemp-derived products is within legal limits.
    • If you’re considering purchasing edibles, smokables, drinks, or vapes, pay special attention to the FDA’s rules and regulations.
  • Understand state regulations. Do your research to know if all hemp-derived products (such as Delta-8 THC) are legal in your state.
  • Ask for paperwork like COAs to be included in larger shipments. While the new rules didn’t create paperwork requirements for transporting hemp-derived products, it’s a good idea to include copies of certification paperwork for the products with larger wholesale shipments. This should not be an issue when you purchase an order of products online.

CAN DELTA 8 THC BE SHIPPED?

Yes. Since Delta 8 THC is psychoactive, and not explicitly illegal in most states, many online customers wonder whether the product that they’re planning on purchasing will actually be delivered. As long as your shipping address is located in a state which doesn’t explicitly prohibit Delta 8 THC, then you can complete your purchase, and your products will be delivered discreetly to your front door.

Delta-8 is federally legal in the US (per the 2018 Farm Bill), so you can always safely place your order online. Most Delta-8 manufacturer websites will prohibit completing a purchase when they suspect that your shipping address is located in a prohibited state. Similarly, you cannot complete your purchase if the shipping address you enter is located in a prohibitive state.

BENEFITS OF ORDERING CANNABIS ONLINE

  • It’s cheaper. One of the downsides of purchasing your hemp-derived products in-store is the hidden costs. Brick-and-mortar storefronts have costly overheads that they offset by incorporating into the price of their products. This means if you purchase your products from a retail store, your purchase price will be anything between 15-25% more expensive. Ordering your products online removes the middleman. Manufacturers’ websites have lower insurance and upkeep costs, and they can pass the savings pass to you.
  • Fresher products. Traditional retail stores will order giant batches of products and keep them in stock until sold. Delta 8 THC is not designed for long-term storage. This holds true particularly in warmer or more humid conditions. The active ingredients can break down and make the products ineffective before you can use them. As a consumer, you have no way of knowing how long products have been on shelves and no quality guarantee.
  • Convenience. Ordering products like delta 9 gummies online for delivery is a convenient way to shop. Instead of taking time out of your day to drive to a store, collect the products and drive back, you can place your order for delivery with just a few clicks. Online ordering also allows a more straightforward assessment of your delta 8 products. Forget visiting multiple stores to compare prices and range.
  • It’s discreet. Some people like to be discrete about their cannabis consumption. Even as the world becomes more open to cannabis, there are still some negative connotations around it. Depending on your family, your job, or your friends, you may not want to be as forthcoming about it.
  • More variety. Ordering online gives you access to a more extensive range of hemp-derived products as well as other cannabinoid extracts. Choose from tinctures, gummies, vapes, and more, all in one location.
  • Easier to vet the quality. When ordering products like delta 8, it’s important to conduct third-party checks before making a purchase. Many delta 8 THC goods are made using outdated, untested methods. That increase the chance of ineffective or even dangerous products being delivered to stores.

IN CONCLUSION

The 2014 and 2018 Farm Acts suggest that mailing lawful hemp-derived products is legal. It doesn’t matter whether they have the documentation specified by the USPS. On the plus side, the postal service is developing a method of ensuring that it seizes fewer packages.

Ultimately, the gap between federal and state law makes everything more confusing than necessary. Yet, realistically, if reputable brands believed it was illegal to mail CBD oils and other hemp-derived products, they wouldn’t risk shipping to so many states.

The authorities in most states exercise common sense. The time and expense of enforcing such an absurd law are enormous, and most agencies are content to use their resources elsewhere.

 

USPS Hemp Guidance

In June 2019, the United States Postal Service issued external guidance through its Postal Bulletin that overrode internal guidance issued in March 2019 for the mailing of hemp-derived CBD products. Hemp and hemp-based products, including CBD with the THC concentration of such hemp (or its derivatives) not exceeding a 0.3 percent limit are permitted to be mailed only when the mailers:

  1. Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Including, but not limited to, the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2018 Farm Bill, pertaining to hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales; and
  2. Retain records establishing compliance with such laws. Including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports, for no less than two years after the date of mailing.

Unlike under the internal guidance, this documentation no longer needs to be presented at the time of mailing but may be requested either at the time of mailing. Or on a later date if there is doubt as to the hemp-derived CBD product’s mailability or the intended recipient’s ability to legally receive it.

This guidance was revised in August 2021 and the record retention period was increased from two to three years. The new guidance also prohibits shipments of hemp and hemp-based products from being mailed internationally.

UPS Hemp Guidance

Raw hemp in plant form is accepted for transportation only for pre-approved shippers as a contractual service within in the U.S. network. U.S. import, export, and international shipments are not permitted at this time.

UPS accepts products made from hemp (including Cannabidiol – CBD) for shipment only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws. It is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure compliance with all such laws, including the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §321, et seq.

CBD/hemp liquid products intended for vaporization are prohibited in the U.S. network (including import and export). Please refer to the Tobacco Vape Policy for more information.

UPS will not accept shipments containing hemp products from any location that sells marijuana or marijuana products.

Can I ship cannabis?
Can I ship cannabis?

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