USPS Publishes New Guidelines for Mailing Hemp and Hemp Products
This post was written by attorney Kamran Aryah with the Kight on Cannabis law firm.
Sending hemp and CBD in the mail has proven to be more of a hassle than one would expect given the recent expansion of hemp’s legal status in the United States. We wrote about this topic recently, and quoted both a USPS policy statement and an administrative court ruling that hemp and hemp extracts are mailable commodities.
On June 6, an update from the United States Postal Service (USPS) arrived with new and more straightforward guidelines for mailing hemp and CBD in the United States. The new policy update entitled “Publication 52 Revision: New Mailability Policy for Cannabis and Hemp-Related Products” simplifies hemp mailing requirements and addresses changes brought about by the 2018 Farm Bill. The new publication states:
“Hemp and hemp-based products, including cannabidiol (CBD) with the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of such hemp (or its derivatives) not exceeding a 0.3 percent limit are permitted to be mailed only when:
- The mailer complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws (such as the Agricultural Act of 2014 and the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) pertaining to hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales; and
- he mailer retains records establishing compliance with such laws, including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports, for no less than 2 years after the date of mailing.
Of course, the second requirement is not part of the 2018 Farm Act and is probably unenforceable; however, from a practical standpoint it makes good sense. Under this new policy, hemp and hemp extract products can be mailed anywhere in the United States if the mailer complies with all federal, state, and local laws and maintains copies of compliance documents for two years. The key takeaway is not to throw away your COA’s, cultivation or processor registrations, or any other materials that may serve to prove that the hemp you mailed is lawful.
One notable feature of this new policy is the removal of the requirement that the person mailing hemp and hemp extract products commit themselves in writing to the False Statements Act. This was a somewhat onerous and overblown requirement of the previous USPS guidelines that subjected a person to civil and criminal penalties for providing false information about the contents of the packages. Signing such a self-certification statement can be intimidating, even for a person who is being truthful about the contents of the items being mailed. This provision perhaps was intended to dissuade individuals from sending hemp products in the first place. While mailers should still only send fully compliant hemp and hemp extract material accompanied by compliance documents such as COAs and registrations, they are no longer required to attest personally to the validity and accuracy of accompanying documents.
Most importantly, the USPS’s updated policy acknowledges the legal status of hemp produced in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill and the 2014 Farm Act Pilot Programs. It is lawful to mail hemp and extracts from hemp cultivated under a lawful pilot program provided that they meet all federal, state, and local legal standards, and the mailer retains copies of compliance documents for a period of two (2) years. We hope that the result of this policy update will be an uptick in mailed hemp and a decrease in the rate of USPS seizures of packages containing hemp. We also hope that this publication by the USPS will foster broader understanding of the legality of interstate transport of lawful hemp and hemp extract products.
June 13, 2019
This post was written by Kight on Cannabis attorney Kamran Aryah. He works closely with clients to develop compliance strategies. Kight on Cannabis is a law firm founded by attorney Rod Kight that represents legal cannabis businesses. You can contact us by clicking here.