Like most agencies and governmental entities in the United States, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been working to revise their current rules and regulations to accommodate shifting cannabis and CBD laws all over the country. The job of the federal postal service is particularly hard, especially considering that the organization must contend with varying laws in nearly every state concerning what can and cannot be mailed, as well as the legality of the substance in-question.
The new laws come with welcome clarification of existing mandates from the organization. Mail fraud is a serious crime by itself, and consumers caught mailing cannabis illegally can be hit with some very serious criminal and civil penalties—possibly even including jail time. Companies who fail to comply with federal mailing laws and regulations could face massive fines, or even be shut down for their violations. As a result, the USPS released a definitive document on June 6 detailing all of the changes being made to their existing policy.
The specific section affected by the changes will be Publication 52, which pertains to “Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.” According to USPS, the agency is adding a new section, 453.37, entitled “Hemp-based Products. This new section will establish “new mailing standards” for all products derived from cannabis and industrial hemp. This specification is important—the new laws apply to industrial hemp products, including CBD, as well as cannabis products.
The Specific Changes
Responding directly to the Agricultural Act of 2014, which legalized the industrial hemp industry all over the United States, USPS now allows industrial hemp products to be mailed under very specific circumstances, provided that their mailers meet a set of necessary criteria. From now on, mailers of hemp products must be licensed from the Department of Agriculture in their state to produce the product. Additionally, the mailers must comply with the federal limit for THC content—it cannot exceed this 0.3% limit.
The new section also stipulates that mailers of industrial hemp products must comply with all federal, state, and local laws. The responsibility of compliance, as always, will remain squarely on the shoulders of the person mailing the package using the United States Postal Service
Subject to Change
Despite the concrete changes currently on the agenda, the USPS was clear in their release that these rules are subject to change, perhaps significantly, following the passage of the most recent agricultural act (2018). At this point, it is not yet clear what specific changes may come about following the ratification of the act in all fifty states. Users and businesses in the U.S. shipping CBD and hemp products should be careful to research all applicable laws and remain up-to-date with the latest articles and bits of information published on the USPS website.
For the most accurate information, users should direct their questions to the USPS website, or to local authorities on the issue within their jurisdiction. Moving forward, laws and rules within the organization can change significantly, and violations can result in serious penalties.