A new U.S. law that will impact the postal service has some within the cannabis industry concerned, as it will ban the shipping of vape products through mainstream mail.
Officially known as the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act,” the bill was approved by Congress last December. Under this ruling, the United States Postal Service can no longer handle vape product shipments.
The law, which is set to take effect late this month, was initially made to prevent youth from being able to order tobacco products online, and there is no explicit mention of hemp or cannabis in the law, but legal THC cannabis businesses and those in the CBD industry are getting worried about the implications.
“To the extent that they are participants in the industry who are selling vape products, it absolutely affects them,” explained cannabis attorney Rod Kight of Asheville, North Carolina.
Now that this is law, the USPS has 120 days to create rules and figure out how to implement this newly legal policy. FedEx and UPS will also be following the same directive and will not be shipping any vape products.
“Effective April 5, 2021, UPS will not transport vaping products to, from or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products,” UPS representative Matthew O’Connor announced via an official statement.
A Vaguely Worded Law And A Way To Work Around It
Even though the law was developed to target nicotine sellers, the legislation is—perhaps intentionally—vague. It mentions “electronic nicotine delivery system,” but then specifies that that could mean any product that “delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device.” Because of the “other substance” mentioned, those in cannabis are worried.
However, all is not totally lost for those who rely on shipping vape products for part or all of their company’s revenue. Shipping through private companies may still be allowed. Those organizations can get away with it because anything shipped through their channels requires a signature.
Companies can also register with the U.S. attorney general to get a special allowance for product shipping, and if businesses can figure out how to implement an age-verification system, that will be taken into account as well.
And according to industry insiders, this isn’t that different from measures that legal cannabis and CBD are already taking, although admittedly it will mean some extra work.
“A lot of them are doing age verification already,” Kight said. “For some, this is going to be a larger project to take on.”
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, also points out that changing point-of-sales systems can be tricky, as companies selling products in different places will be subject to different laws.
“It should be possible to modernize the tax infrastructure so that you don’t have small businesses suddenly having to get licenses and deal with 20 to 50 different state tax authorities—not to mention native tribes and local governments,” he claimed.
The American vaping industry needs to be prepared for this new change, but there are definitely ways that the cannabis and CBD industries can still legally ship product, as long as they are willing to jump through a few hoops.