Shipping Marijuana and THC Oil - What the rules are and how the Rossen Law Firm can help
Can I get arrested for shipping weed? What if someone shipped weed to me and I didn’t know? Is it true that only one THC cartridge is a felony? I shipped weed once and now the police are calling me, what should I do? Can I get in trouble?
These are all of the frequently asked questions that our office, the Rossen Law Firm, expert criminal defense attorneys, receives about illegally shipping and receiving marijuana in the Fort Lauderdale area.
While on vacation to states like California or Colorado, you may notice that there are differences between their laws and Florida’s. One major change between these states: the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana has been legalized for a multitude of reasons, including to create more jobs, decrease crime rates, and promote consumer safety, to name a few. However, because Florida has not legalized marijuana, its use is still considered a crime.
Having marijuana legalized in only a few states means that it must stay there, no matter where you are from. Because of the Constitution’s inclusion of state immunities and privileges, people visiting a state get the same benefits as the citizens of that state. This accounts for people from Florida being able to smoke while on vacation in Colorado or California. The one catch is that you are not allowed to bring marijuana back from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal, like Florida.
If you buy marijuana in Colorado (which is perfectly legal), it cannot be brought back to Florida (making the transaction illegal). No matter to who or where the marijuana is shipped — to work, to a friend, maybe to a local business — the police are able to track who has sent and received the package. Because all marijuana use is illegal in Florida, you can get arrested for possessing it throughout the State, including Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach.
Is Possession of THC Oil a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Possessing THC oil is considered a felony. The police measure the amount of oil as a whole, rather than per individual product. This means that trace amounts of THC oil in a pen, no matter if it is almost empty, would still result in a felony charge. This is because THC oil is classified as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has the same harsh penalties as cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
How do USPS, UPS and FedEx find marijuana in packages shipped to Florida?
Shipping companies, such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx, reserve the right to search any packages that they flag as suspicious. These companies have drug dogs that are trained to smell for marijuana. If your package is flagged, USPS, UPS, and FedEx have the ability to search it and call the police. In fact, in 2016, the USPS seized over 36,000 pounds of marijuana.
How the Rossen Law Firm defends cases on illegally shipping marijuana in Florida:
When we are defending a case in which a person has shipped marijuana or THC oil, there are many questions that we can ask to determine their innocence. The first idea we look at is whether or not you have actually shipped the package. Sometimes people may send you packages as a joke, but you were unaware of what was happening before you received it in the mail. This helps us to prove whether or not you had knowledge of the transaction, further proving your innocence. We also look at if you had possession of the package once it was mailed. Even if you take the package inside, you can be arrested, no matter if you knew what it contained. However, if you never actually open the package and just let it sit, we are able to prove that you had no knowledge of what was inside. The most important defense, however, is to hire a trained criminal defense attorney like us to represent your case. Because we have first-hand experience with how to handle these situations and what to look out for, we are able to help you better than anyone else can.
Take our client Roberto, for example, who I represented for his marijuana-related case. Roberto is the manager of a warehouse, and had marijuana sent to his job. One day when Roberto was at home, the police came into his work and asked to speak with him. This jeopardized not only his career but also his entire life. He was not only embarrassed but scared he would be arrested for a serious felony and his career and life would be ruined. Once Roberto heard that the police went to his job, he called me freaking out. Since Roberto was not at the warehouse when the police showed up, he was able to avoid speaking to them. After working with Roberto, I was able to make sure the police had no evidence to arrest him. Because of Roberto’s quick action to call us immediately, he does not have a mugshot, there was no arrest, and, most importantly, no criminal charges.
Similarly, I represented our client Jeffrey for his marijuana charges. Jeffrey has chronic pain, so while on vacation, he mailed marijuana back to his friend’s house for medicinal purposes. The U.S. Postal Service flagged this package and notified the police, leading to his friend getting a call and visit from the cops. The police threatened to arrest his friend for the marijuana, so he called Jeffrey to have him straighten out the situation. After Jeffrey talked to the police, he freaked out and hired me to help. When analyzing the case, I found many evidentiary loopholes, including that the cops were never able to authenticate Jeffrey's voice from the phone. I was able to negotiate the charge to time served for misdemeanor drug paraphernalia. John never served a day in jail and does not have a mug shot because he made a smart decision and hired us right away. There is always a big difference between what you know happened and what the police can prove happened and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be the difference between a clean record and a visit to the county jail.
How to respond to a police officer when questioned about illegally shipping marijuana or THC Oil:
As with most situations, cops will lie to scare a suspect into confessing to a crime. Police officers can show you a subpoena saying that they will show up at your house or work, scaring your family and coworkers.
First Rule: Do not say or admit anything to the cops, no matter what they say. This is commonly called invoking your right against self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Some people call it “pleading the 5th.” However you say it, the most important thing is to shut up and protect yourself. The police are not your friends.
Second Rule: Immediately call a lawyer, as they will be the best to guide you through this intimidating situation and help overcome your charges. Once you have hired an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can rest assured all your legal rights will be protected.