A lot of people think that sending marijuana and cannabis products in the mail seems pretty safe when you consider the incredible volume of packages the US Postal Service (USPS), and companies like FedEx and UPS handle every day. But shipping cannabis this way is still a violation of Indiana and federal law, and criminal charges are a frequent occurrence.
If you or a family member is being investigated or arrested for shipping marijuana, THC oil, or any form of cannabis contact an Indianpolis drug attorney right away.
Marijuana is Illegal in Indiana: No Matter Where It Comes From
Marijuana is illegal in Indiana and the federal government has not legalized its use or shipment. THC gives users a high and only low THC level oil, derived from industrial hemp, is legal in Indiana and can be shipped.
By using the USPS (part of the federal government) to ship these products you are violating USPS rules and federal laws. It’s also against Indiana law to knowingly or intentionally deliver marijuana.
The fact these acts are illegal doesn’t prevent people from shipping marijuana.
- Fifteen UPS employees were arrested last year for importing and distributing drugs and counterfeit vaping oils from Mexico. They exploited weaknesses in UPS security systems, according to the Washington Post. At times thousands of pounds of marijuana and other narcotics were shipped into the US using standard packages.
- New York’s most important marijuana arrests in 2018 involved the USPS and FedEx. According to the Journal News, an estimated $22 million worth of marijuana was sent through FedEx to addresses in the Bronx and New Rochelle, with more than three tons of marijuana passing through the trafficking ring. Eventually, ten people were arrested and charged.
What If You Receive Marijuana in the Mail
Under Indiana’s drug trafficking law, knowingly or intentionally delivering or possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver (including synthetic marijuana) carries significant penalties:
- Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 (Class A misdemeanor).
- It becomes a Level 6 felony, with six months to two and a half years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000, if the defendant has a prior drug conviction and less than 30 grams of marijuana is involved, or there are no prior drug convictions and 30 grams to ten pounds of marijuana is delivered.
- It’s a Level 5 felony, with a sentence of one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, if the defendant has an earlier conviction for drug dealing and the offense involves 30 grams to ten pounds of marijuana or if this is the first offense and what’s involved is more than ten pounds or a sale to a minor.
How Packages with Marijuna are Identified
The US Postal Inspection Service enforces federal statutes concerning that involve the postal system, its employees, and customers. The agency works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to share information, coordinate investigations and conduct joint operations concerning people shipping illegal drugs.
There are many factors that may arouse suspicion about a package, including:
- The use of Express Mail for a package, not just an envelope.
- The package’s weight.
- The package originated from a post office outside the zip code of the return address.
- No one with the sender’s name lives at the return address.
- The seams are heavily taped.
- The address is handwritten.
When a suspicious package is removed from normal delivery, it’s seized and examined. For this to be proper, there must be reasonable suspicion to do so.
The package may be checked by a drug-sniffing dog and if it alerts its handler, a warrant could be issued to open it. If marijuana or illegal THC oil is found, the package may be delivered by an undercover officer. Normally whoever accepts the package is arrested and law enforcement may have a search warrant for where the package was delivered.
What to do If You’re Arrested
As in any arrest, you still have legal protections. Depending on the facts, there may be valid defenses to charges involving shipping marijuana. If you are charged, talking to law enforcement before consulting with an attorney could make the situation worse.
If you or a family member is being investigated or charged with a drug offense in Indiana, you need to take the charge seriously and seek help from an experienced lawyer. Call Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer Sean Hessler at (317) 342-9287 for a free, initial phone consultation.