Is Sending or Accepting Weed in the Mail a Felony in Florida?
Aug 26 · 6 min read
With marijuana decriminalization policies sweeping the nation, many people are wondering if it is legal to ship weed through the mail, and what happens when USPS finds drugs in a package. It is essential to recognize that the United States Postal Office is a federal government-run entity, and the decriminalization of marijuana is currently at the discretion of states and cities. What this means is that, yes, you can certainly be arrested for shipping weed or THC through the mail.
If you are facing cr i minal charges for shipping weed through the mail in South Florida, seek a criminal defense attorney for drug charges immediately. As the federal government oversees USPS, you will face federal charges, which are extremely serious. Even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal, such as Colorado, you can still be arrested.
How Is Marijuana and THC Oil Detected in the Mail?
The federal government grants the United States Postal Service the right to search any and all packages that the organization handles. Other private shipping companies, including UPS, FedEx, and DHL, also state in their policies that they reserve the right to search any package in their care.
There are a variety of ways that marijuana and THC can be found in packages. Some agencies use X-ray machines to scan suspicious packages, much like airport security. Other agencies sometimes have drug dogs accompanied by law enforcement that search facilities or delivery trucks. Or, as noted, a delivery service may choose to search your package at random or if they are suspicious.
Packages that come from states where marijuana is legal for recreational use may be targeted for searches more than others. For example, if a resident in Colorado ships a package to someone in Florida, that package may have a higher likelihood of being searched. According to Florida Statue 381.986, in the state of Florida, marijuana is not legal for recreational use, and if it is discovered that you are involved in shipping or receiving marijuana or THC oil through the mail, you will face criminal charges.
Penalties for Mailing Marijuana
So, what happens when USPS finds drugs in a package? You may find yourself facing federal charges. Depending on the amount, you may be charged with drug trafficking. The consequences of these charges are steep and can result in many years in prison. If you have prior drug convictions, a judge is not likely to go lightly on your sentencing. For this reason, you must hire a drug possession lawyer in South Florida to represent you.
If you are caught shipping or accepting marijuana, you may be charged with a few federal offenses including:
- Misuse of the mail
- Mailing of “Injurious Articles”
- Trafficking in marijuana
Since other individuals are likely involved in the shipping of marijuana or THC oil, you may even face conspiracy charges with the intent to distribute marijuana. These charges are not something that you should brush off as insignificant because “it’s just weed.” Even though public opinion and many state legislatures are rolling back strict policies regarding the substance, you must remember it is still illegal at the federal level, and it is taken seriously by the government.
The Severity of Charges
The severity of your charges, as well as the penalty, will depend on the amount of marijuana that you are found in possession of, or that is found in your package. Smaller amounts typically result in lesser charges and sentences. However, it is still an issue that needs to be taken seriously. If USPS is involved, it is still a federal matter.
It should be noted that only 2% of federal cases ever go to trial. This is not a good thing. What this means is that most people facing federal charges end up taking a plea deal, which is an admission of guilt.
Repercussions of a Drug Conviction
A drug conviction of any kind can have severe consequences for your life. You may lose your job, lose custody of your children, have your driver’s license suspended, or lose your professional license (such as your license to practice law or medicine). If you work in a profession where you care for others, such as a teacher, daycare provider, or care for the elderly, you are likely to lose your job and be unable to gain employment in the field again.
For these reasons, you must hire the best possible criminal defense team. An excellent drug defense lawyer may be able to have your charges significantly reduced, allowing you to avoid a lengthy stay in prison, or even have your charges dismissed.
Possession of THC Oil
THC oil has been increasing in popularity in recent years, and many people are using it instead of traditional marijuana that comes in plant form. However, penalties surrounding THC oil are much more severe than “regular” marijuana.
While possession charges for traditional marijuana vary based on the amount you have, having THC oil in your possession is a felony charge regardless of quantity.
What to Do if You Are Questioned by Law Enforcement
If you have a package shipped via USPS first class priority mail, the postal service must have a search warrant in order to open it, and they must notify you before doing so. This rule does not protect other packages.
If a member of law enforcement shows up at your door, or pulls you over while driving, and begins to question you about marijuana ask for a lawyer immediately. Legally you have the right to ask for a lawyer at any point during the questioning process. You can exercise this right during the very first question. Politely respond, “I request to have my lawyer present before answering any questions.”
Legally, law enforcement cannot deny you this right, and their questioning must stop immediately. They must provide you the opportunity to contact your lawyer and have them arrive before questioning resumes. Even if you think that the amount of marijuana you are in possession of is small enough and not a big deal, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as you are facing the possibility of federal charges no matter how little the amount.
The Marijuana Industry
As medical marijuana is now widely legal, there are many companies for which shipping is a necessity. What happens when USPS finds drugs in packages sent by such companies? The answer is not so cut and dry. While your business may be licensed to dispense medical marijuana or sell marijuana products in states where it is legal, there are still stipulations regarding shipping.
Each state has their own laws regarding marijuana industry shipping. In most, your business must hold a special license for commercial shipping. Additionally, if you are found shipping marijuana using that license to individuals who are not legally allowed to be in possession of the drug, you can find yourself facing federal charges even though your business had the required license. This could result in the loss of the license your business needs to operate, and even the loss of your business entirely.
Additionally, if you have a medical marijuana card and receive the product from a licensed facility, you may still be questioned if you receive a package with the Schedule I substance. There is a lot of legal red tape that you will have to go through, and there is still the chance that you may face charges, even if you are legally allowed to have marijuana. For this reason, you must hire an attorney.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney for Marijuana
Even if you believe that the quantity of marijuana that you are found in possession of is too small to be a big deal, hire an attorney immediately. What happens when USPS finds drugs in the mail: hefty penalties and serious charges, regardless of how harmless the act may seem. If you are a business or depend on medical marijuana for a health condition, it is even more imperative that you seek legal representation to protect your rights.
Do not take the chance in court, where you may land in federal prison at a judge’s discretion. The proof is most likely already that you shipped or received marijuana in the mail. While the burden is on the government to substantiate the claims, the legal process is very difficult to navigate on your own. It would be best if you had a lawyer to fight on your behalf to have your charges reduced or dismissed. You need a lawyer who will not back down.
There is no drug possession charge too small to have a significant impact on your life, but you are not doomed. If you hire a lawyer who will stop at nothing to prove you are innocent and should not be convicted of the charges you are facing, your chances in court fare much better.
Having a drug defense attorney in South Florida on your side shows the prosecutor’s office and the judge that you are taking the charges seriously and that you are willing to fight for your innocence.
With marijuana decriminalization policies sweeping the nation, many people are wondering if it is legal to ship weed through the mail, and what happens when USPS finds drugs in a package. It is…