As the state leading in marijuana growing, sales, and distribution, it isn’t surprising that entrepreneurs in Colorado are seeking new avenues for profits. Though marijuana has been legalized throughout the state, it is still illegal to transport, ship, and sell the product across state lines. According to The Guardian, the U.S. Postal Service has seized more than 493 pounds of pot from packages in 2013, up from 57 pounds in 2010. The statistics were released by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Packages were most often intercepted between Colorado and Florida, Maryland, and Illinois.
The report did not take into consideration packages shipped throughout 2014 since recreational pot shops were opened in the state. Research suggests that more people are shipping pot by mail, though it is possible that the postal service is becoming more proactive in pursuing investigations. Our Orange County marijuana dispensary attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients, including medical card holders, dispensary owners, and others involved in the marijuana business. Our attorneys are abreast of changes in marijuana law and can help to ensure compliance as well as prevent criminal liability.
While recreational pot has been legalized for all adults in Colorado, it remains illegal under federal law. The U.S. Postal Service is a federal agency and using it to ship marijuana within the state or across state lines is illegal. Even Colorado voters agreed that distributing marijuana across stateliness was going to be an issue and that it should remain prohibited. The United States Department of Justice agreed that it would not interfere with state legalization laws so long as they also implemented policies to ensure safety and strict regulation of medical and recreational pot. Though federal authorities have rarely been involved in smuggling cases on a small-scale, it will be pursuing criminal charges in some cases.
Though Colorado legalized marijuana to eliminate the black market and to collect on tax revenue from legal sales, it has now become part of the black market for neighboring states. While producing and packaging products in Colorado is legal, it can also be highly profitable to traffic those products to other states and sell at a higher black market price. In addition to the U.S. Postal Service, some individuals and entities have also been known to ship through private companies, including FedEx and UPS.
Authorities from the U.S. Postal Service assert that they have not increased inspections or changed enforcement policies. The agency claims it is primarily concerned with preventing large-scale enterprises and in targeting groups that send high volumes of marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and other narcotics. According to the agency, many of the illegal exports come from individuals who are growing at home or in warehouses in accordance with state laws. Currently there are several cases being prosecuted at the federal level. Individuals who are under investigation for postal trafficking should consult with an experienced marijuana attorney. Any criminal conviction could result in serious penalties, including fines, jail time, and a damaging record.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
More Blog Entries:
Getting Started in the Medical Marijuana Industry, May 15, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
United States Marijuana Laws Influencing Other Countries, February 14, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog