One of the claims that those who oppose marijuana law reform make is that legalization will lead to an increase of things like marijuana being sent through the mail. The theory goes that people in legal states will run the risk and sell-ship marijuana to customers in states where cannabis is not legal. And there is no doubt that some people do just that.
So the questions become: 1) Is more marijuana being sent through the mail? 2) If so, is it such a problem that it should slow down the pace of legalization?
The answer to the second question is quite simple: even if more marijuana being sent through the mail is a problem, the solution is more legalization, which will lower prices and make it less profitable for the marijuana to be sold and shipped in the first place.
The first question is trickier, but some data is available. While the data is obviously affected by many factors, including better detection methods on the part of authorities, the numbers we do have show us that while the number of intercepted packages containing marijuana is on the rise again after 2 years of decline, the total amount of marijuana sent through the mail continues to decline.
From 2015 to 2016, the number of marijuana packages intercepted increased by over 18%; but since 2012 the average weight of marijuana in an intercepted package has dropped from 5 and a half pounds to just under 4 pounds. And in the end, marijuana – no matter where it is sold – is sold by weight.
So it doesn’t look like more marijuana is being sold through the mail as legalization laws spread across the country. That may change in the coming years, but as I pointed out above, it doesn’t matter. If marijuana is legal in your state, why wouldn’t you just buy some there instead of paying more to have it shipped from somewhere else? The more states that have legalization, the less people there will be who want to buy cannabis through the mail.
And when marijuana is legal nationwide, marijuana in the mail will cease to be an issue. After all, why would it matter if someone in a legal state wanted to send some marijuana to a friend in another legal state? It’s not flammable like alcohol and if it’s legal on a federal level, no one will give it a second thought.
But those days are a long way off. For now it seems like less marijuana is being sent through the mail (in terms of total weight of all packages since 2012), taking away yet another prohibitionist talking point.