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Shipping Hemp and CBD
The shipment of marijuana, as defined in 21 U.S.C. §802(16), is prohibited under any circumstances, even when marijuana is for medicinal purposes or is otherwise legal under a state’s law.
Raw hemp in plant form is accepted for transportation only for pre-approved shippers as a contractual service within in the U.S. network (U.S. import, export, and international shipments are not permitted at this time).
UPS accepts products made from hemp (including Cannabidiol – CBD) for shipment only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws. It is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure compliance with all such laws, including the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §321, et seq.
CBD/hemp liquid products intended for vaporization are prohibited in the U.S. network (including import and export). Please refer to the Tobacco Vape Policy for more information.
UPS will not accept shipments containing hemp products from any location that sells marijuana or marijuana products.
UPS reserves the right to dispose of any shipment containing marijuana, hemp or hemp products tendered for shipment which shippers are prohibited from shipping, which UPS is not authorized to accept, which UPS states that it will not accept, or which UPS has a right to refuse.
UPS reserves the right to discontinue service to any shipper for, among other reasons, tendering a package containing marijuana, hemp or hemp products that does not comply with all applicable laws or the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service.
Guide for Shipping Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Products
By Michelle Bodian, Catie Wightman
Under the 2014 and 2018 USDA Farm Bills, certain hemp and hemp-derived CBD products can be shipped via USPS, FedEx and UPS— but only if certain conditions are met. Below is summarized guidance from those companies.
USPS Hemp Guidance
In June 2019, the United States Postal Service issued external guidance through its Postal Bulletin that overrode internal guidance issued in March 2019 for the mailing of hemp-derived CBD products. Hemp and hemp-based products, including CBD with the THC concentration of such hemp (or its derivatives) not exceeding a 0.3 percent limit are permitted to be mailed only when the mailers:
Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws (including, but not limited to, the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2018 Farm Bill) pertaining to hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales; and
Retain records establishing compliance with such laws, including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports, for no less than two years after the date of mailing.
Unlike under the internal guidance, this documentation no longer needs to be presented at the time of mailing, but may be requested either at the time of mailing or on a later date if there is doubt as to the hemp-derived CBD product’s mailability or the intended recipient’s ability to legally receive it.
This guidance was revised in August 2021 and the record retention period was increased from two to three years. The new guidance also prohibits shipments of hemp and hemp-based products from being mailed internationally.
FedEx Hemp Guidance
On January 20, 2020, FedEx updated its terms and conditions to allow the shipment of hemp-derived CBD products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. It continues to ban the shipment of the following:
Marijuana, as defined by U.S. federal law, 21 U.S.C. 802(16), including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use and marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD); any product with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis, except as set out in 21 CFR 1308.35; and synthetic cannabinoids.
Raw or unrefined hemp plants, or their subparts (including, but not limited to, hemp stalks, hemp leaves, hemp flowers and hemp seeds), except as set out in 21 CFR 1308.35
The FedEx terms and conditions were revised on October 14, 2021, but no changes were made to the hemp policy.
UPS Hemp Guidance
UPS does not permit the shipping of hemp in plant form. It does accept products made from hemp (including CBD) for shipment, only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws. “It is the responsibility of the Shipper to ensure compliance with all such laws, including the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §321, et seq.”
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