Mailbox, Post, Mail, Letter, Box, Postal, Communication

Over the course of the past two weeks, we have heard from several of our clients that they have had shipments of products containing CBD returned to them by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  Given the fact that the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill was supposed to prevent this sort of hassle, we here at Vermont Cannabis Solutions decided to check into what’s going on down at the post office: here’s what we found out.

On March 4, 2019, the U.S. Postal Service HQ issued an advisory regarding the shipment of hemp-derived CBD products.  This advisory is most likely the USPS’ response to the 2018  case,  KAB, LLC v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE.  This case was brought as a response to the improper seizure of hemp-derived CBD products by the US Postal Service. In KAB, decided on September 21, 2018, the Administrative Law Judge overseeing the matter ruled that: “Congress currently permits the interstate sale, transportation, and distribution of exempt industrial hemp pursuant to the most recent appropriations act, I find that exempt industrial hemp and products derived from exempt industrial hemp are mailable.

This decision clarified what most of us already knew, it was perfectly legal to mail hemp-derived CBD products through the U.S. mail.  Just because it is legal, however, doesn’t mean that it is regulation-free.  The purpose of the USPS’ recent advisory is to establish the regulations that must be followed in order to avoid issues with the Feds.  The advisory establishes three criteria which must be met when mailing products containing CBD:

  1. A signed self-certification statement, subject to the False Statements Act. Statements must be printed on the mailer’s own letterhead, and must include the text, “I certify that all information contained in this letter and supporting documents are accurate, truthful, and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information or omits information relating to this certification may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties, including fines and imprisonment.”
  2. The industrial hemp producer possesses a license issued by the Department of Agriculture, for the state where the Post office/ acceptance unit is located, which includes documentation identifying the producer by name and showing the mailer is authorized by the registered producer to market products manufactured by that producer.
  3. The industrial hemp, or products produced from industrial hemp, contains a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”

The USPS advisory acknowledges that the 2018 Farm Bill is now law, and that once “fully implemented” it will “modify the mailability criteria for CBD and other cannabis products“, and that the instructions it provides are “temporary“. In other words, the USPS is saying that the regulatory framework for hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill has not yet been created (ie, “fully implemented”), but that when it is in place the USPS will further loosen guidelines and restrictions on mailability of hemp and hemp products, including CBD.

While these steps may be a hassle for some retailers, especially those doing large quantities of online sales and shipping, at the end of the day the guidance provides a clear path to making sure that all of the shipments are delivered and provides security that those retailers shipping hemp-derived CBD products are undeniably acting within the confines of the law.  As much of a hassle as it might be, ultimately this is a good thing as it will cut down on product seizures and delays due to “enhanced inspection” and remember…. It’s only temporary.