Cannabis Takes Another Step Forward With USPS’ New Mailing Policy
While cannabis and CBD products continue to reach new highs--both in terms of popularity and sales numbers--on a nearly daily basis, many government and regulatory institutions are finding themselves frantically playing catch-up. The unprecedented sweep of these products across the United States has caught many off guard, and as such certain concepts and clarifications are being produced at speeds that have long been altogether uncharacteristic of such organizations.
The United States Postal Service (USPS), now inundated with requests for information regarding shipping regulations around cannabis and its derivations, has been all but forced to publish clear and enforceable instructions regarding these topics:
“In response to the inquiries, the Postal Service recently circulated an internal policy outlining specific acceptance criteria for CBD and cannabis-based products. In order to provide more clarity for mailers, the Postal Service is now issuing external guidelines, which clarify the circumstances under which hemp and hemp-based products can be mailed in domestic mail.”
-USPS Publication 52 Revision
The memo detailing these updates to the agency’s policy was released without fanfare at the beginning of May (effective June 6, 2019) and can be viewed in full here.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
According to the USPS’s policy revision, products containing hemp and hemp derivations can be mailed if certain guidelines are followed. For example, the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive effects, cannot exceed 0.3 percent within an individual article--the same guideline used by most states’ CBD regulations. Although some states allow CBD products to contain up to 0.5 percent THC, the USPS will still only allow concentrations of 0.3 percent or lower to transmit through the mail.
Additionally, the USPS requires that any cannabis-derived products mailed via USPS originate only from exclusively licensed producers. These producers must maintain official permits from their home state’s Department of Agriculture that endorse the cultivation, extraction, packaging, and distribution of such items. Anything manufactured without proper licensing is subject to confiscation and/or destruction.
The USPS further indicates that “mailers are responsible for their own compliance with all laws and regulations governing mailability. Following this revision, mailers will also be responsible for retaining documentation which shows that they are complying with all such laws.”
Furthermore, it would appear that renewed documentation must be available for presentation upon request, as opposed to simply being required upon dispatch of any parcel: “A mailer is not required to present the documentation at the time of mailing, but such documentation may be requested either at that time or on a later date if there is doubt about the item’s mailability or the addressee’s ability to legally receive it.”
As is the case with virtually every service, organization, agency, or other entity dealing with the initial structuring of cannabis policies, the outlines provided by the USPS are very much subject to change. Considering the current positive trajectory of cannabis in the United States, these forthcoming changes will more likely than not be quite welcome. At the same time, it will become increasingly important to regularly absorb new information related to these topics as updates to policy and procedure may come at any time. This can be difficult when information is provided quietly and generally flies under the radar--just like this rather monumental revision to the Postal Service’s cannabis guidelines.
What’s more, public and private entities’ ability to understand published policies becomes even more muddled by the fact that the many organizations within each state don’t seem to agree on… well, much of anything when it comes to cannabis.
For example, when the Agriculture Improvement Act (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill and discussed here) announced the removal of hemp from Schedule 1 status under the Controlled Substances Act (at the federal level) and legalized its transportation--with proper documentation--most were excited about this new potential economic and legislative growth. Some of those in opposition, however, decided to take matters into their own hands despite the Farm Bill’s federal nature. Perhaps most egregiously, the Idaho State Police announced that they will continue making arrests based on hemp transportation, regardless of federal policy. And this is already happening; according to the Boise State Public Radio, “Three men are currently facing felony drug charges in Ada County for transporting what they say was hemp.”. It is important to note, however, that under the Agricultural Improvement Act, each individual state is required to draft, pass, and enact legislation outline the legalities of hemp cultivation and the processing, distribution, and utilization/consumption of hemp-derived products, namely CBD.
Though we will almost certainly look back on this hazy era of cannabis’ first steps with some amount of shame on behalf of those barring its expansion, it is important to maintain awareness of all available information while we endure the confusion. By bringing attention to this issue I do not intend to scare anyone who may be interested in medical cannabis away from looking into their treatment options. Just the opposite, in fact; opportunity abounds for those considering these solutions--whether hemp- or cannabis-based--for relief of physical or psychological symptoms, and, as long as legal certification is procured and preserved, safe and effective treatment without many of the pitfalls of prescription medications is absolutely within reach. As the policies surrounding transportation and mailing of cannabis continue to evolve, this reach will grow exponentially.
For More Information or Consultation...
If you are considering treatment with medical cannabis for physical or mental symptom relief, or if you have any questions about hemp or cannabis use as part of a holistic approach towards achieving better overall wellness, be sure to consult first with Doctor Jane or your licensed medical cannabis physician. There are many factors involved in determining whether cannabis is the appropriate course of action and developing a proper treatment plan. You can schedule a consultation for a time and location that is convenient for you using our website, or reach out to me directly via phone or text at (561) 406-0685.
Today’s blog post is written by Rick Liogier-Weyback, MD, founder and president at Doctor Jane and our licensed medical cannabis physician. If you are considering cannabis treatment or are wondering if medical cannabis may be right for you, please contact our team at your earliest convenience.
About Doctor Jane
Doctor Jane is South Florida’s most discreet, professional, and convenient concierge medical cannabis practice. Dr. Luis Enrique R. Liogier-Weyback and his wife, Katie Liogier-Weyback, B.S., R.N., founded Doctor Jane on the core tenets of bringing personal, convenient, professional and discreet patient care to the medical cannabis treatment process. Doctor Jane provides South Florida patients and their caregivers with a safe space where they can exercise their right to access medical cannabis therapy in an environment of their choosing, free from stigma and complications.
Visit our website to find out more or to schedule your own medical cannabis consultation. www.DoctorJane.net