No, individuals cannot legally mail weed in Colorado. Although cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use, mailing it within, into, and out of Colorado remains a violation. According to the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA), weed is classified as a Schedule I substance which means that it is unstable and lacks an acceptable means of use in treatment.
Since the United State Postal Service is a federal government agency, it does not allow individuals to mail weed through its service. Third-party mailing agencies are also subject to federal law. However, with the 2018 Farm Bill came the legalization of hemp and its derivatives (products with less than 0.3% THC). The Bill also removed these products from the DEA’s schedule of Controlled Substances. This means that hemp products can be mailed legally via the USPS and third-party mailing agencies.
Although Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana and edibles for adults (aged 21 and above), transporting these products across state lines is both a state and federal offense. Edibles are foods such as brownies, chocolates, etc, that are infused with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). A person charged with transporting weed across Colorado faces penalties that depend on:
Below are the penalties for trafficking edibles according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration:
A criminal defense lawyer can employ several defenses to dismiss a drug trafficking charge. Below are some common options used in Colorado:
Since marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Colorado, the defense team can claim that the weed was strictly for personal use.
Assist law enforcement
The accused can cooperate with law enforcement authorities to uncover other severe drug-related crimes. This cooperation may be exchanged for a dismissal.
In some instances, the evidence presented by the prosecutors may be insufficient to convince the court to convict. Since the burden of proof rests on the prosecuting team, the lawyer can effectively get the case dismissed if the evidence is inadequate.
Challenging evidence procurement
The state must present enough evidence and must procure said evidence through legal and acceptable means. A credible lawyer can scrutinize the submitted evidence to find loopholes that render it inadmissible.
This is when the law enforcement agency induces the accused to commit a crime that the person would not have committed otherwise. Attorneys can prove entrapment to defend persons charged with drug trafficking.
Individuals should also note there are different penalties for trafficking other drugs, such as heroin, ketamine, cocaine, etc. In Colorado, drugs such as cocaine and heroin generally carry more severe penalties per quantity than marijuana.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes 18-18-405, drug trafficking is selling, distributing, manufacturing, or dispensing a controlled substance. The law also states that inducing others to perform any of these acts, or possessing supplies and equipment used to manufacture controlled substances, also qualifies as drug trafficking.
Although drug trafficking is usually a felony, an offense can be a misdemeanor in the following situations:
Concerned persons should note that certain level four drug felonies can be reduced to level one misdemeanors after successful probation. For instance, the non-transactional transfer of less than 4 grams of specific Schedule I or II drugs for consumption is a level four felony that can be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Colorado’s state government agency concerned with drug trafficking is the Department of Public Safety. At the federal level, the following agencies tackle drug trafficking:
According to a National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) report, Denver is a primary regional distribution center for drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The report also states that 8.9% of Colorado residents aged 12 and above reportedly abused illicit drugs. This is higher than the 6.3 percent recorded nationwide.
Generally, transporting 2.5 pounds or more of weed is considered trafficking in Colorado. CRS Title 18-1.3-401.5 addresses the state's rules and penalties concerning drug trafficking.
The potential punishment for drug trafficking depends on multiple factors, such as the quantity of weed involved and whether other crimes occurred during the trafficking. Other factors that can influence weed trafficking penalties include:
The law also outlines levels for these offenses, including four levels of felonies. Level one is reserved for the most severe crimes and carries the strictest penalties. A level one felony generally carries between 8 and 32 years of jail time and a fine between $5,000.00 and $1,000,000.00.
Individuals should note that penalties for trafficking marijuana differ from penalties for trafficking other drugs depending on the type of substance and the amount. For instance, trafficking over 112 grams of ketamine or heroin is a level one felony. On the other hand, 50 pounds of marijuana is enough for a level one felony charge.
The following are the penalties for trafficking weed in Colorado:
According to House Bill 16-1211, Colorado residents must first obtain a retail marijuana transporter license to transport weed legally. The license is obtainable from the Marijuana Enforcement Division, costs $4,900.00, and is valid for two years. The interested licensee must meet the following criteria:
Licensees should note that there are rules that govern the legal transportation of marijuana. For instance, it is illegal to have marijuana in an open container in a vehicle. This also applies to having a container with a broken seal in the passenger area. Also, the licensee should not carry any passengers in the vehicle.