The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) amended its "Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail" policy Oct. 20 to prohibit the mailing of any vaping product.
The USPS developed its final rule on the mailability of vapes to be in compliance with the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (POSECCA) signed into law by former President Donald Trump last year, which regulates the sale and delivery of electronic delivery systems (ENDS)
According to the bill text, POSECCA strictly:
- subjects the sale and delivery of these systems to certain requirements, including tax, licensing, and labeling requirements;
- prohibits the sale and delivery of these systems to anyone under the legal age to purchase tobacco products;
- requires the USPS to implement regulations to prohibit the mailing of these systems; and
- requires the National Institutes of Health to conduct a study on the health impacts of e-cigarette use by youths and young adults.
Although the final rule specifically bans ENDS—making the legislation appear to be specific to nicotine products—Congress uses the term to describe all vaping products, making cannabis, CBD and hemp products fit in the category of what lawmakers banned, according to the final rule.
The Public Pushes Back
The USPS received over 15,700 public comments on the proposed regulations, according to the final rule. Some feedback included commenters requesting that the agency provide an alternative method for regulating these products or making certain exceptions, as well as asking for an extension of the effective date.
Commenters also argued that including cannabis in the final rule "would conflict with State and local laws decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational purposes."
Others stated that it would conflict with other legislation that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to "to prevent certain States and Territories from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.'"
Lastly, commenters said the final rule would conflict with shipping other hemp and hemp-derived products that test under the legal 0.3% THC limit; however, the USPS said it said it is unable to go around the POSECCA because it specifically calls out the agency to prohibit the shipping of vape products and said the ban would not clash with other laws because it's under the federal government.
The agency clarified that the final rule does not interfere with the mailing of hemp and hemp derivatives that contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, as long as it is not "incorporated into an ENDS product or function as a component of one."
The final rule also "exempts business-to-business shipments from the mail ban, along with shipping to consumers within the borders of Alaska and Hawaii, and limited non-commercial shipping between private individuals," Vape 360 reported.
The rule allows for the shipping of cigarettes for "consumer testing" by public health researchers and federal agencies.
The USPS ban on vapes will take effect immediately. To read more about the final rule, click here.