USPS Bans Nicotine and Cannabis Devices from Being Shipped Through Mail

The United States Postal Service (USPS) released the details of its final rule on the shipment of nicotine devices, which also includes cannabis vape devices, immediately prohibiting them from being shipped through USPS mail services.

The USPS announced on October 20 that starting today, it will no longer allow the shipment of nicotine vape pens, which also applies to vape pens that contain hemp, CBD or cannabis. This final ruling is a verdict that has been a work in progress since earlier this year. The USPS announced in April 2021 that it was seeking to alter its rules to prevent the shipment of vape pens, in conjunction with a congressional bill provision passed in December 2020. The goal of the bill, referred to as the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (POSECCA), is to prevent vaping devices from getting into the possession of minors and to decrease lung damage caused by vapes. However, due to the language of the bill, cannabis is included in this as well.

In a Federal Register article entitled “Treatment of E-Cigarettes in the Mail” published on October 21, the agency points out that the word “substances” applies to more than nicotine. “As discussed further in section III.D.1.i, notwithstanding Congress’s use of ‘nicotine’ in the term ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems,’ the plain language of the POSECCA definition makes clear that nonmailable ENDS products include those containing or used with not only nicotine, but also ‘flavor[ ] or any other substance,’” the article states. “It goes without saying that marijuana, hemp, and their derivatives are substances. Hence, to the extent that they may be delivered to an inhaling user through an aerosolized solution, they and the related delivery systems, parts, components, liquids, and accessories clearly fall within the POSECCA’s scope.”

The USPS invited the public to comment on this topic, in which the article states that 15,700 comments were submitted. There were many arguments presented that the final rule should not restrict cannabis products, however the agency directly addresses these concerns regarding why its inclusion of cannabis as an electronic nicotine delivery systems, or “ENDS product,” is necessary. “Thus, ENDS products containing or used with THC (e.g., THC-containing liquids, cannabis waxes, dry cannabis herbal matter) are already nonmailable under the CSA. Congress’s decision to keep such items out of the Federal postal network does not bear on whether their use or exchange violates State or local law. Nor does it alter whether the Department of Justice—a Federal entity independent of the Postal Service—may use its appropriated funds to interfere with the operation of State or local laws.”

The USPS does note that shipping hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC is still federally legal, so long as it is not included in a vaping product. The agency also notes that there are other exclusions to this new rule:

  • Intra-Alaska and Intra-Hawaii Mailings: Intrastate shipments within Alaska or Hawaii;
  • Business/Regulatory Purposes: Shipments between verified and authorized tobacco-industry businesses for business purposes, or between such businesses and federal or state agencies for regulatory purposes;
  • Certain Individuals: Lightweight, noncommercial shipments by adult individuals, limited to 10 shipments per 30-day period;
  • Consumer Testing: Limited shipments of cigarettes sent by verified and authorized manufacturers to adult smokers for consumer testing purposes; and
  • Public Health: Limited shipments of cigarettes by federal agencies for public health purposes under similar rules applied to manufacturers conducting consumer testing.

One commenter questioned the enforceability of this new rule, suggesting that vendors might send products below the weight threshold to avoid detection. USPS replied that the commenter’s assumptions on this matter were false. “First, there is no weight threshold for Postal Service enforcement of mailability; the Postal Service can and does enforce mailability laws regardless of weight, shape, or other mailpiece characteristics,” the article states. “Second, a vendor that does not advertise its sales is unlikely to remain a vendor for long. Third, the presence of identifying markings is not a prerequisite for detection of nonmailable matter; indeed, few shippers of the substantial quantities of nonmailable contraband detected by the Postal Inspection Service and its Federal law-enforcement partners transparently indicate the illicit contents that they are shipping.”

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Fed Up With Pot Smoking, Burger Spot Bans All Unsupervised Patrons Under 18

The crew behind Garden Valley, California-based burger spot, Red Rooster Burgers & Brew, had enough with teens smoking pot in the bathroom, among other things, leading to a ban of all unsupervised customers under the age of 18.

“It is with GREAT sadness that we have made the decision to not permit underage kiddos in the restaurant without a parent or legal guardian for the following reasons…” Red Rooster Burgers & Brew posted on September 24. Red Rooster Burgers & Brew sells burgers, fries, shakes and ice cream sundaes, as well as alcoholic drinks such as beer or wine.

The post continued, adding a list of dozens of complaints—the first one on the list being “marijuana being smoked in the bathroom.” The list included littered condoms, skateboarding, the use and sale of e-cigarettes, as well as coins, fries and candy being thrown at employees.

With a brief review of California law, there is no possible way for people under the age of 18 to legally consume cannabis, unless it is for medical use and approved by a physician, under the supervision of a legal guardian.

“For the last two years we have spoken to kiddos and voiced our concerns numerous times!” the post continued. “Then, we implemented rules so they could still feel like they had a place to go, feel safe, and hang with their friends. It’s very clear to us that the bad behavior is not going to end. If you have a kiddo that needs a safe place to be after school please reach out to us. It is not our intent to exile the youth in our community but to protect our property. Some of their actions are unlawful and we won’t allow it.”

In California, only adults ages 21 and older can legally purchase pot for recreational purposes. There is no age limit on medical cannabis use, however minors under age 18 need permission from their legal guardians to use medical cannabis. So that means that young adults ages 18-20 are allowed to visit state-licensed medical dispensaries, but not adult-use dispensaries.

Unfortunately, pot smoking wasn’t the only problem at the burger restaurant, Red Rooster Burgers & Brew. “We also have issues with youth roaming the streets at night vandalizing the neighborhood,” the post continues. “Recently a neighbor’s Kalloween display was vandalized. We found pieces of it in our parking lot. It’s unfortunate but we will have to install security cameras to catch these vandals. We live in such a quaint beautiful town. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

Beyond the Burger: Teens and Pot

Sandwich chain Cheba Hut, makers of “Toasted” subs, took the exact opposite approach, marketing to young adults through sandwiches like “Thai Sticks” or “Kali Mist.” 

But most business owners don’t want a mess to clean up when teens take over. In August, Oregon-based Burgerville took an even more extreme measure and closed a franchise in Portland permanently, due to underage criminal activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends against allowing teens to smoke pot, given the developmental changes in the brain. “Unlike adults, the teen brain is actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid 20s,” the CDC warns. “Marijuana use during this period may harm the developing teen brain.”

Those considerations from the CDC are apparently falling on deaf ears, however. A comprehensive study published two years ago in the American Journal of Public Health. looked at 1991-2017 American federal health data on more than 200,000 high school students, and found that the number of students who said they’d smoked pot at least once over the past month rose 10-fold, rising from 0.6 percent in 1991 to 6.3 percent by 2017.

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Anti-Pot Author Alex Berenson Gets Permanent Twitter Ban

Alex Berenson—author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence—received a permanent suspension from microblogging platform Twitter for spreading misinformation. While Berenson is known for his vocal opposition to cannabis legalization, this time, he was punished for spreading false information about COVID-19.

On his Substack page, Berenson posted a brief message, titled, “Goodbye Twitter” with a screenshot of his original tweet that led to his suspension. Berenson’s tweet that triggered the ban claimed that COVID-19 vaccines do not work. “It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission,” Berenson tweeted. “Don’t think of it as a vaccine.”

Twitter officials believe that Berenson can’t be trusted to tell the truth, and that the accumulation of misleading tweets justifies a suspension.

“The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News in response to an inquiry on August 28.

“The first four states to legalize—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington—have seen sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014, according to reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Berenson wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “Police reports and news articles show a clear link to cannabis in many cases.” Berenson was a former employee of the New York Times several years prior.

Berenson’s op-ed was published at the time of the release of Tell Your Children, his book that attempts to link violence with cannabis use. One night, Berenson’s wife Jacqueline, remembered a case in which a man “cut up his grandmother or set fire to his apartment.” Later Jacqueline wrote, “Of course he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”

Berenson’s New York Times op-ed and book were so misleading, that two leading psychologists felt compelled to debunk the article in The Guardian.

Carl L Hart is the chairman and Ziff professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University and author of High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Charles Ksir is professor emeritus of psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Wyoming and author of Drugs, Society and Human Behavior.

“Back in the 1930s, when there were virtually no scientific data on marijuana, ignorant and racist officials publicized exaggerated anecdotal accounts of its harms and were believed,” the authors wrote. “Almost 90 years and hundreds of studies later, there is no excuse for these exaggerations or the inappropriate conclusions drawn by Berenson.”

Alex Berenson on Censorship

This is by no means the first time a publisher or platform has banned Berenson for the spread of misinformation. Amazon denied taking part in a few of his booklets. Berenson’s former employer The New York Times declined to review his latest novel. In a December op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Berenson warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had ushered in “a new age of censorship and suppression.”

In an op-ed in Reason, the writer explained that while Berenson tried to scare people from pot, and vastly underestimated the death toll of COVID-19, it was a mistake to ban Berenson permanently from Twitter. Banning him from Twitter may only make things worse. The implications of banning one person could be extended to another.

The writer explained that if anything, Berenson will just profit more from his “martydrom” from Twitter. “COVID-19 has allowed Berenson to fully embrace his role as a purveyor of delusions,” the article reads, but a ban will only fuel the fire of opposition to those opinions. 

Berenson’s ban got political very quickly. “I don’t know Berenson,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted. “But all the Leftie Brown Shirts cheering his being banned—you are the problem. You’re supporting authoritarian billionaires’ arbitrary censorship. & you are contributing to so many people’s distrust of Covid info—by silencing dissent, many are skeptical.”

It’s important to note that there are vastly different opinions of Berenson. Senator Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) called him a “courageous voice of reason” and “a valuable counter-perspective.”

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Judge Rules Texas Ban on Smokable Hemp Unconstitutional

Texans will have the ability to legally manufacture smokable hemp products after all. A judge in the Travis County District Court in Texas ruled that a ban on smokable hemp in the state is unconstitutional—siding with several hemp companies that filed a lawsuit, challenging the 2019 ban on smokable hemp products passed by Texas lawmakers.

Last year, four hemp businesses filed the lawsuit in a Travis County District Court against the Texas Department of State Health Services and its commissioner—John Hellerstedt. In the end, they prevailed. This follows a ruling last week that allows smokable hemp to be sold in Texas. With the latest ruling, smokable hemp products can also be manufactured in the state.

Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court sent a letter dated August 23 with her ruling to toss out the ban in the case Crown Distributing LLC, et al. v. Texas Department of State Health Services, et al. The judge indicated in the letter that a final judgment should be prepared and submitted for her signature soon.

In the ruling, Judge Livingston ruled that Section 443.204(4) of the Texas Health and Safety Code and Section 122.301(b) of the Texas Agriculture Code violate the Texas Constitution.

Section 443.204(4) of the Health and Safety code reads “the processing or manufacturing of a consumable hemp product for smoking is prohibited.” Section 122.301(b) of the Agriculture Code clarifies that a state agency “may not authorize a person to manufacture a product containing hemp for smoking.”

Judge Livingston ruled that “25 Texas Administrative Code Section 300.104 is invalid in its entirety.” Section 300.104 regards the manufacturing and sale of hemp, specifically.

The judge also granted a permanent injunction against the Texas Department of State Health Services from enforcing the ban via the sections above.

According to locals, the ban didn’t apply to using smokable hemp—only manufacturing it—so Texas residents were routinely crossing state lines or going online to buy it.

Several months ago, the Dallas Observer reported that Texas law enforcement officers keep confiscated hemp-derived products in general, which are legal at the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill. 

The Hemp Industry Rejoices Ban Lift on Smokable Hemp

Hemp industry insiders across the board were thrilled with the latest legal curveball—considering the vast potential of hemp cigarettes and similar products. As more people become interested in smoking cannabis during the day without it impacting workflow and motor skills, hemp cigarette products are booming.

Smokable hemp products are frequently a hot topic among opponents to cannabis reform because they are almost indistinguishable from cannabis products. They are favored by some consumers because they offer fast delivery of hemp-derived CBD. Due to their popularity, smokable hemp-derived CBD products represent a significant share of the overall CBD market.

“Today’s ruling is a major win for Texas’ hemp industry, and may set a new standard in similar cases across the country,” President of Texas Hemp Growers Zachary Maxwell said in a release. “The attorneys behind the Texas Hemp Legal Defense Fund fought hard, brought fact-based arguments to the courtroom and proved the undeniable financial harm caused by this cavalier ban.”

Hemp Industry Daily called it a “watershed decision” that unlocks Texas to a hemp market that could potentially generate $400 million in annual sales by 2025.

Several other states are moving in the same direction. A few years ago, a judge in Indiana also ruled that banning smokable hemp was unconstitutional. Earlier this year, a similar bill passed in Louisiana, allowing smokable forms of cannabis.

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Instagram Targets Cannabis-Related Social Media Accounts

Photo-based social media giant Instagram regularly takes action against cannabis-related accounts for violating the terms of service (TOS). Often enough, the reason behind a ban is often unclear to the accounts that are affected—which leads to detrimental loss in engagement for up-and-coming cannabis businesses. 

Instagram has an estimated 1 billion monthly active users since its initial release back in 2010. Any disruption to a thriving Instagram account, especially for cannabis-related accounts, can have devastating effects from a marketing perspective. In most cases, a violation of the TOS can be walked back through a series of steps, as detailed by marketing expert Colin Bambury. Bambury has encountered Instagram suspensions numerous times and wrote up a guide on his website Adcann to help others get their accounts reinstated.

“Social media is an important tool for marketers in any space. It allows brands to create connections and communicate with current and potential consumers anytime, anywhere,” Bambury writes. “With COVID-era lockdowns, consumers are staying inside and scrolling through social platforms more than ever, increasing the importance of digital advertising and native content creation. The cannabis industry is no exception—with many brands, retailers, producers, and accessory purveyors utilizing platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat.”

Bambury lists that Instagram and Facebook’s policies around “drugs and drug-related products” include ads that don’t promote the sale or use of “illegal, prescription or recreational drugs,” avoiding the use of images related images such as bongs or rolling papers, avoiding any use of images of a recreational drug itself, and avoiding images specifically showcasing recreational or medical cannabis. 

“Although Facebook acknowledges that cannabis can be both ‘recreational’ and ‘medical,’ implying that the substance is regulated and has medicinal value, their official website continues to communicate a zero-tolerance policy on ‘marijuana,’” he wrote in regard to the company’s image policies. “This poses a large problem for cannabis producers, brands, retailers, accessory producers, and marketing agencies looking to connect with consumers.”

On Instagram specifically, same-topic competition can also prove to be a nuisance. “Instagram will frequently prioritize removing content that is reported—which means that ‘haters’ and unethical competitors can, unfortunately, conspire to potentially have your page taken down,” he added.

“Up until recently, that was the main cause of content and account removal. However, in late 2020, Instagram and Facebook made an observable change to their AI restricted content detection, as cannabis accounts and photos were targeted to the extreme. If you rack up enough posts that violate IG’s community guidelines, your account will likely be disabled,” Bambury concluded.

Unfortunately, even adhering to these rules and policies has resulted in banned accounts on Instagram and Facebook. In June, Cannaclusive’s Instagram account was banned for the first time since the creation of those accounts in 2017—with Director of National Projects and Social Media Kassia Graham expressing her confusion about why the account was banned in the first place. She told Yahoo! Finance that it might have been because of a post that garnered a large amount of popularity, or that maybe it was because they tagged other Instagram accounts that had recently run into issues with Instagram violations.

Maria Brasco, social media manager at MATTIO Communications shared that even implementing her own strict rules on what to avoid posting, there doesn’t seem to be any logic behind Instagram’s banning rules. “Accounts that err on the side of caution are being penalized, while their industry colleagues are blatantly ignoring the rules, and nothing happens,” she told High Times

There isn’t a clear solution in how to 100 percent protect a cannabis-related Instagram account right now. Until federal legalization opens up new doors for issues like this, bans will remain commonplace—but in the meantime, those who manage cannabis accounts will benefit from becoming familiar with the account recovery process.

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OnlyFans Announces Ban on Sexual Content

As of October 1, 2021, OnlyFans — a website popular among sex workers — will effectively ban sexually explicit content. According to a statement released on Thursday, the policy change comes at the request of the company’s banking and payout partners. Allegedly, content featuring nudity will still be permitted, provided it’s consistent with the new […]

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New York State – Latest to Ban Delta 8 THC

If you like Delta 8 THC products, stock up because they might get a lot harder to find. Last week, the State of New York agreed to ban products that contain Delta 8 THC. New York becomes the seventeenth state to ban Delta 8 THC in a massive blow to the CBD market. It’s a […]

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Thursday, December 19, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Legal recreational weed sales will begin Jan. 1, as planned in Chicago despite a wild, angry debate in City Council (Chicago Tribune)

// Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo Pumps Brakes on Cannabis Banking Bill (Cannabis Wire)

// After one-year freeze, rush is on to buy out Ontario’s first wave of cannabis retail lottery winners (Financial Post)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// One of the Poorest Countries in Africa Wants to Send Its Legal Marijuana All Over the World (Time)

// New Zealand finalizes groundwork to launch medical cannabis industry in April (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Analysis: Germany’s medical cannabis market loses momentum but on pace to surpass 100 million euros (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Which Canadian provinces will have legal vapes and edibles by Christmas? (Leafly)

// Beleave loses CEO VanderMarel; faces lawsuit from Auxly Cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Akerna to Acquire Canadian Cannabis Software Provider Ample Organics for Up to $45 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Chart: Cannabis industry, MJBizCon continue growth trends (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
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Monday, October 21, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, October 21, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Judge says decision on Baker vaping ban expected Monday (Boston Herald)

// Montana judge halts temporary flavored vaping ban (Charlotte Observer (AP))

// State has no labs licensed to test medical cannabis, despite law requiring proof of testing (Tulsa World)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Federal Court Dismisses Suit Against DEA Over Marijuana Growing Applications (Marijuana Moment)

// Can A Judge Tell A Coloradan On Probation Not To Consume Medical Marijuana? The Colorado Supreme Court Is Now Facing That Question (Colorado Public Radio)

// Slow rollout in marijuana sales costs Maine revenue and jobs (Sky Statement)

// Illegal vapes traced to California woman who was CBD pioneer (Alabama News Network (AP))

// Upstate NY hemp farmer thinks thieves are mistaking his crop for marijuana (Eyewitness News ABC 7)

// Former VA Secretary Who Oversaw Marijuana Research Blockade Now Backs Cannabis Studies For Veterans (Marijuana Moment)

// Citizen Video Surfaces of NYPD Officer Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspect (Merry Jane)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Vaping360/Flickr