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Posted on August 16, 2020 in Arizona Law

Is Mail Order Weed Legal?

The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which aims to legalize marijuana for recreational use, will hit the Arizona ballot in November. If it passes, you’ll be able to possess one ounce of marijuana, with no more than 5 grams of it being in the form of concentrate.

Until it passes in November, the recreational possession and use of marijuana is still a crime in the state of Arizona.

Current Arizona Laws on Non-Medical Marijuana

Currently, under  A.R.S. 13-3405, possession of marijuana has three levels of classification. If the amount you possess is less than two pounds, you will be charged with a class 6 felony, between two to four pounds is a class five felony, and more than four pounds is a class 4 felony. Penalties for each can include probation, mandatory drug treatment, and jail or prison time.

Depending on the amount of marijuana in question, and the skill of your defense attorney, a class 6 felony could be changed or charged as a misdemeanor. Many factors go into deciding the final charges, including extenuating circumstances like age and criminal history.

For first time offenders, Arizona passed “Prop 200” or A.R.S. 13-901.01, which allows for probation and treatment for first-time offenders. The purpose of the law is to highlight treatment instead of incarceration, but it is not available for repeat offenders.

Can I Order Weed Through the Mail From Places Where it is Legal?

Whether or not the recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Arizona, ordering it through the mail will still be illegal and can land you in serious trouble. Why? Because it would have to cross state lines and most likely be delivered by the United States Postal Service.

Either or both of those things make it a federal criminal matter. Under the Controlled Substances Act, a federal law, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. When an illegal substance is shipped across state lines, it becomes an issue of interstate commerce and falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Even though marijuana might be legal at a state level, it’s still an illegal controlled substance when it comes to federal law. So, even if you are ordering weed from a place where it is legal and having it shipped to a state where it is legal, you are still breaking federal laws.

What Happens if I am Caught Shipping Cannabis Across State Borders?

If you are caught shipping marijuana, or products that contain marijuana, across state borders, any of the following can occur:

  • An investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.)
  • You could face charges for narcotics trafficking
  • Possible prison time

Even ordering marijuana online within a state that has legalized marijuana may still lead to federal consequences.

Federal Law Supersedes State Law

It is easy to find shops and online sites that promise safe weed deliveries using private couriers. Anyone making such bold claims is breaking the laws that prohibit ordering weed online. As the recipient,  you can end up in trouble too.

Whatever the laws in your state, federal law will supersede the laws of the state. The act of crossing state lines, even if both states allow the amount of marijuana you are transporting, makes both possession and transporting the weed a federal crime.

Using Private Carriers to Ship Weed

Many have attempted to supersede these laws by using private carriers such as UPS or FedEx, but federal laws also bind these companies. Even worse, private companies can inspect any package if it contains an illegal substance. The drivers for FedEx or UPS could cooperate with federal officials if they find marijuana or marijuana products in your package.

I Am a Medical Marijuana User – Do the Same Rules Apply?

Federal law does not recognize the use of marijuana for medical purposes as valid. Even if you possess a valid prescription, have a card, and follow all the laws of medical marijuana usage in your state, you are subjected to federal law if you order, ship, or transport weed across state lines.

The Bottom Line

Though laws are slowly changing, little substantive law has changed at the federal level. If you live in the United States, you should avoid mail order marijuana.

If you are facing state or federal charges related to marijuana, find a criminal defense attorney familiar with both state and federal drug laws. A drug crime on your background can have a profound impact on the rest of your life. A skilled attorney reduces the chances that a small amount of recreational weed will have a devastating impact on your future.