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Marijuana by mail: Pot users tap post office, FedEx

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a study to look at the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana in New York. Cuomo’s proposal was part of his state budget address on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.

Marijuana shipment caught by authorities. (Photo: DEA)

Some of New York’s biggest marijuana busts recently have involved smugglers using the U.S. Postal Service and private delivery firms like FedEx.

One saw $22 million worth of marijuana shipped through FedEx to businesses and homes in the Bronx and New Rochelle. Authorities allege 6,600 pounds of pot passed through the trafficking ring dubbed Operation Green Giant, and 10 people face a bevy of federal charges in the case.

The bust in the fall unfolded after agents caught one of the men with $230,000 at San Francisco International Airport, and FedEx provided records on 330 suspected pot shipments, court records show.

New York Drug Enforcement Administration Special-Agent-in-Charge James Hunt described the typical marijuana smuggling case as a mix of opportunism and new technology.

Some dealers track their deliveries in real time across the country, playing the odds that the product will seep through cracks in a system handling millions of packages each day. Some bundles ship to unsuspecting homes and businesses, where drug runners intercept them outside front doors.

A $100,000 investment in West Coast weed easily turns into $200,000 when sold at East Coast prices.

“That’s a big budget margin for a drug trafficker,” Hunt said, describing a growing underbelly of “weed connoisseurs” in New York demanding high-quality pot from California, British Columbia and parts of the Pacific Northwest called the Emerald Triangle.

FedEx officials wouldn’t discuss the case that seemingly showed how dozens of pot shipments went unnoticed for more than a year.

“We comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations, and cooperate with law enforcement authorities in their investigations of criminal activity involving our services or network,” said FedEx spokesman Davina Cole.

Postal service and cartels

More recently, another 12 people were accused of using the Postal Service to ship 220 pounds of marijuana from California to Rochester. The alleged smuggling involved about 1,000 packages sent between August 2015 and earlier this year.

The Postal Service Inspection Service, a federal law enforcement agency, didn’t respond to questions about efforts to curb marijuana smuggling through the mail.

The DEA’s Hunt noted that many of the marijuana shipments get through simply due to volume.

“I would be foolish to think we’re getting more than a portion of it,” he said. “They could send multiple packages, and the easier you can smuggle and transport something the more difficult it is for law enforcement.”

The Postal Service and private delivery companies have systems to target marijuana and drug smuggling, Hunt said, but the DEA generally stays focused on catching the big operations.

“We don’t spend our time doing hit or miss; We’re in the business of investigation,” he said.

That means a lot of attention to Mexican cartels, which can turn a few hundred dollars of pot into $2,000-plus stateside. The equation translates to major marijuana profits each year for deadly traffickers like the Sinaloa cartel.

“The Mexican cartels are the Walmarts, and the smaller weed-connoisseurs traffickers are the convenience store,” Hunt said. “Cartels are doing literally billions of dollars in Mexican marijuana even though it is not the same quality as the Emerald Triangle bud.”

Big Apple’s pot appetite

Marijuana smuggling offers a case study in supply and demand, and New York City seems to have the highest appetite for pot in the world despite its unlawful trade.

The Big Apple’s marijuana use topped a ranking of global cities in 2017. It consumed about 77 metric tons, or 170,000 pounds, of pot that year, USA Today reported. The next two highest cities were Karachi, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India, at 42 and 38 tons consumed, respectively.

Two other U.S. cities cracked the top 10 list with Los Angeles at No. 4 (36 tons) and Chicago at No. 8 (25 tons).

“The biggest thing for marijuana is that it’s so widely abused… It’s so pervasive there are a lot of people who hold legitimate jobs and go to work and even have families who smoke marijuana,” Hunt said,

He then contrasted marijuana users with users of drugs like heroin and cocaine.

“A lot of marijuana users are not the criminal element…You don’t find the same people like an opiate addict or a crack addict doing stick-ups and robbing people at gunpoint or breaking into houses to buy drugs,” he said.

Public-safety risks exist in the marijuana trade, however, at the crossroads of money and gangs. The recent arrests in the Bronx and New Rochelle, for instance, involved firearms, court records show.

“Gangs protect their turf, and the gang’s mission is to protect itself from the other gangs and that’s where the weaponry comes in,” Hunt said.

Marijuana smuggling turns to mail, FedEx to feed demand in New York

Service Guide Amendments

Important information regarding changes to FedEx В® В services and terms and conditions, since the publication of the FedEx Service Guide (Effective June 25, 2018), Canadian Edition and the FedEx International Premium в„ў and FedEx В® В International Express Freight Terms & Conditions are detailed below. Except as amended, modified or supplemented by the following, the FedEx Service Guide and the FedEx International Premium в„ў and FedEx В® В International Express Freight Terms & Conditions shall remain in full force and effect.

Please use the links below to access recent amendments.

  • FedEx International Premium and FedEx International Express Freight Terms and Conditions
    • Amendment No. 1
      В
  • FedEx Express Terms and Conditions
    • Amendment No. 1
    • Amendment No. 2
    • Amendment No. 3
      В
  • FedEx Ground Terms and Conditions
    • Amendment No. 1
    • Amendment No. 2
    • Amendment No. 3

Amendment No. 1: FedEx International Premium and FedEx International Express Freight Terms and Conditions

Effective November 1, 2011, the FedEx International Premium в„ў and FedEx В® В International Express Freight Terms and Conditions will be amended as follows:

Section 10 of the FedEx International Premium в„ў and FedEx В® В International Express Freight Terms and ConditionsВ is amended as follows:

FedEx International Premium is a time-definite, high priority freight service for shipments of all sizes and weights with a Money-Back Guarantee. (See the Money-Back Guarantee section in these Terms and Conditions).

FedEx International Premium is a time-definite, high priority freight service for shipments of all sizes and weights to major world markets.

Section 32 of the of FedEx International Premium в„ў and FedEx В® В International Express Freight Terms & ConditionsВ is amended and removed in its entirety.

Amendment No. 1: FedEx Express Terms and Conditions

Effective July 5, 2019, the FedEx Service Guide (Canadian Edition, Effective June 25, 2018) is amended as follows:

Page 18, FedEx Express Packaging Options

References to the “FedEx ® Pak made from Tyvek ® polyethylene” are deleted.
В

Amendment No. 2: FedEx Express Terms & Conditions

Effective December 6, 2019, the FedEx Service Guide (Canadian Edition, Effective June 25, 2018) is amended as follows:В

Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

FedEx may, at any time during the carriage of the shipment, assess additional transportation charges based on dimensional weight, which is a volumetric standard. Dimensional weight pricing is applicable on a per-package basis. For intra-Canada and international packages, dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying length x height x width of a package and dividing by 139 cubic inches per pound (if multiplied in inches) or by 5,000 cubic centimetres per kilogram (if multiplied in centimetres). If the result exceeds the actual weight, charges may be assessed based on the dimensional weight.

Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

Transportation charges may be based on dimensional weight, which is a volumetric standard. Dimensional weight pricing is applicable on a per-package basis. If the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight, charges based on the dimensional weight may be assessed. Customers who fail to apply the dimensional-weight calculation to a package may be assessed dimensional weight charges from FedEx. See the Dimensional Weight description in the FedEx Express Rate Guide for additional details.

Page 49, Restrictions (International)

The following new item is added as a restricted item listed in subparagraph (l):

  • Vaping products and accessories.

Page 50, Restrictions (International)

  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids, and cannabis accessories.

Page 50, Restrictions (Intra-Canada)

The following new item is added as a restricted item listed in subparagraph (i):

  • Vaping products and accessories.

Page 51, Restrictions (Intra-Canada)

  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids, and cannabis accessories.

Page 52, Undeliverable Shipments

(a) If a shipment is undeliverable for any reason, we may attempt to notify the shipper to arrange for the return of the shipment if local customs or other governmental regulations allow. If the shipper cannot be contacted within five (5) business days, we may place the shipment in a general order warehouse or a customs-bonded warehouse or will dispose of the shipment. In any event, if an undeliverable shipment cannot be delivered or returned or if the shipment contains perishable commodities, the shipment may be transferred or disposed of by FedEx in its discretion and at any location, with or without notice. Shipper, if known, agrees to pay any costs incurred and indemnify FedEx for any damages.

(a) If a shipment is undeliverable for any reason, we may attempt to notify the shipper to arrange for the return of the shipment if local customs or other governmental regulations allow. If the shipper cannot be contacted within five (5) business days, we may place the shipment in a general order warehouse or a customs-bonded warehouse or will dispose of the shipment. В FedEx reserves the right, at its sole discretion, and without notice, to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of undeliverable shipments. By tendering a shipment, the shipper agrees to transfer and convey good and sufficient title of the contents of undeliverable shipments to FedEx, and agrees to pay any costs incurred in returning, storing or in the sale, destruction or disposal thereof.

Amendment No. 3: FedEx Service Guide

Effective September 28, 2020, the FedEx Service Guide (Canadian Edition, Effective June 25, 2018) is amended as follows:

Page 2, Our Services at a Glance

The service description for FedEx International Priority В® service is replaced with the following:

  • 10:30 a.m. next business day to businesses in most areas in the U.S. and by noon, 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. to residences and businesses in some rural areas.
  • 1 to 3 business days to rest of world

Page 10, International Services

The service description for FedEx International Priority В® service is replaced with the following:

Our most popular international service provides customs-cleared, door-to-door delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. Packages up to 150 lbs. (68 kg) are delivered by 10:30 a.m. the next business day to businesses in most areas in the U.S. and by noon, 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. to U.S. residences and businesses in some rural areas, to major cities in Europe by noon on the second business day, and in 1 to 3 business days to the rest of the world.*

Import delivery to select Canadian postal codes from more than 220 countries and territories in typically 1 to 3 business days by 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.**†††В

Amendment No. 1: FedEx Ground Terms and Conditions

Effective February 12, 2019,В the FedEx Service Guide (Canadian Edition, Effective June 25, 2018) is amended as follows:

Page 61, Pickup and Delivery Service

(a) Pickup Service

Charges for pickup service shall apply in addition to the rates set forth in this FedEx Service Guide in effect at the time of shipment. Upon payment of the applicable pickup service charge, FedEx Ground will call at the premises of qualified shippers, once each business day, to pick up packages for delivery.

(a) Pickup Service

Charges for pickup service shall apply in addition to the rates set forth in this FedEx Service Guide in effect at the time of shipment. Upon payment of the applicable pickup service charge, FedEx Ground will call at the premises of qualified shippers once each business day, if required, to pick up packages for delivery.

Amendment No. 2: FedEx Ground Terms and Conditions

Effective December 6, 2019, the FedEx Service Guide (Canadian Edition, Effective June 25, 2018) is amended as follows:В

Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

Transportation charges may be assessed based on dimensional weight, which is a volumetric standard. Dimensional-weight pricing is applicable on a per-package basis. For intra-Canada packages, dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying length by width by height of each package and dividing it by 166 cubic inches per pound (if multiplied in inches) or by 6,000 cubic centimetres per kilogram (if multiplied in centimetres). For packages shipped from Canada to the U.S., dimensional weight is calculated by multiplying length by width by height of each package and dividing by 139 cubic inches per pound (if multiplied in inches) or by 5,000 cubic centimetres per kilogram (if multiplied in centimetres). See the Dimensional Weight description in the FedEx Ground Rate Guide for additional details. If the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight, charges based on the dimensional weight will be assessed. If the actual weight or dimensional weight exceeds 150 lbs. (68 kg) then the prorated per-pound rate will be used. For more information on unauthorized packages and applicable fees, please refer to the FedEx Ground Rate Guide. FedEx Ground reserves the right to modify or amend the Dimensional Weight standard without notice.

Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

Transportation charges may be assessed based on dimensional weight, which is a volumetric standard. Dimensional-weight pricing is applicable on a per-package basis. If the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight, charges based on the dimensional weight may be assessed. Customers who fail to apply the dimensional-weight calculation to a package may be assessed dimensional-weight charges from FedEx. See the Dimensional Weight description in the FedEx Ground Rate Guide for additional details.

Page 60, FedEx Money-Back Guarantee, Limitations

The following additional item is added to the end of the Limitations section:

10. If the package is placed in a FedEx Drop Box, the delivery commitment for application of the money-back guarantee will be extended by 1 business day.

Page 60, FedEx Money-Back Guarantee, Exceptions

5. The package was not picked up by FedEx Ground at the shipper’s location or at a FedEx Ship Centre, FedEx Authorized ShipCentre, or FedEx OnSite location before the location’s regular scheduled pickup time.

5. The package was not picked up by FedEx Ground at the shipper’s location or at a FedEx Ship Centre, FedEx Authorized ShipCentre, FedEx OnSite location or FedEx Drop Box before the location’s regular scheduled pickup time. If a package is accepted by FedEx Ground after a location’s regular scheduled pickup time, an additional transit day may be added to the scheduled delivery date.

Page 60, FedEx Money-Back Guarantee, Exceptions

9. A charge for additional handling or address correction applied; see FedEx Ground Rates for details.

10. The package was deemed by FedEx Ground to be unauthorized.

9. The package met the definitions for additional handling, address correction, oversize or unauthorized. See the FedEx Ground Rate Guide for additional details.

Page 60, Package Restrictions (Size and Weight)

**Note: These packages are unauthorized and may be refused or returned to the shipper. However, at FedEx Ground’s sole discretion, they may be accepted and delivered.

**Note: These packages are unauthorized and may be refused,returned to the shipper or disposed of by FedEx Ground. However, at FedEx Ground’s sole discretion, they may be accepted and delivered. In the event of disposal, the shipper, if known, agrees to pay any costs incurred in the disposal.

The following items are added under the heading “The following items are prohibited for shipment from Canada to the U.S.”:

  • Prescription drugs (personal and commercial), regardless of whether shipments have met the requirements set by other government agencies, or are exempt from applicable requirements.
  • Goods requiring an export license or any type of export authorization, including any agreements or license exceptions/exemptions, regardless of value. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Any articles which require a U.S. Department of State import licence or a Canadian Export Permit.
    • Any shipment moving under an A.T.A. carnet.
    • Any goods subject to applicable Kimberley Process Clean Diamond trade regulations.

The following items are removed under the heading “The following items are prohibited from shipment within Canada and to the U.S.”:

  • Any articles which require a U.S. Department of State import licence or a Canadian Export Permit.
  • Any shipment moving under an A.T.A. carnet.

Page 62, Prohibited Items

  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Cannabis or marijuana, including cannabis or marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, cannabis seeds, plants, resin or any of their derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids, and cannabis accessories.

Page 62, Prohibited Items

The following new items are added as prohibited from shipment within Canada and to the U.S.:

Liquid mercury, in any quantity, not contained as a necessary component in any product or piece of equipment in its original manufactured state.

Vaping products and accessories.

Page 63, Refusal or Rejection of Shipments

FedEx Ground reserves the right to refuse to transport and return any package or shipment that it, in its sole discretion, determines to be dangerous, hazardous, unsafe or unlawful to transport, or likely to soil, taint or otherwise damage other shippers’ property or FedEx Ground’s equipment, personnel or contractors, or is improperly or insecurely packaged or wrapped, or is economically or operationally impracticable to transport. Packages must be packaged and wrapped so as to pass the procedures described in the “Packaging and Marking” section covering testing of the packaged products weighing under 150 lbs. (68 kg). Shipper agrees not to tender any packages containing hazardous materials or dangerous goods for shipment, with the exception of “consumer commodities” and “limited quantities” as defined, labelled and packaged in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations for domestic shipments within Canada.

FedEx Ground reserves the right to refuse to transport unauthorized packages and any package or shipment that it, in its sole discretion, determines to be dangerous, hazardous, unsafe or unlawful to transport, or likely to soil, taint or otherwise damage other shippers’ property or FedEx Ground’s equipment, personnel or contractors, or is improperly or insecurely packaged or wrapped, or is economically or operationally impracticable to transport. Packages must be packaged and wrapped so as to pass the procedures described in the “Packaging and Marking” section covering testing of the packaged products weighing under 150 lbs. (68 kg). Shipper agrees not to tender any packages containing hazardous materials or dangerous goods for shipment, with the exception of “consumer commodities” and “limited quantities” as defined, labelled and packaged in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations for domestic shipments within Canada.

Page 63, Undeliverable Shipments

The following item is added to the list of examples of undeliverable shipments:

  • The shipment contains unauthorized packages (see the Package Restrictions [Size and Weight] section).

Page 63, Undeliverable Shipments

(c) If an undeliverable shipment cannot be delivered or returned, or if the shipper or recipient cannot be contacted, or if the shipment contains perishable commodities, the shipment may be transferred or disposed of by FedEx at its sole discretion, with or without notice, and the shipper, if known, agrees to pay any costs incurred in the disposal.

(c) FedEx reserves the right, at its sole discretion, and without notice, to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of undeliverable shipments. By tendering a shipment, the shipper agrees to transfer and convey good and sufficient title of the contents of undeliverable shipments to FedEx, and agrees to pay any costs incurred in the sale, destruction or disposal thereof.
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Service Guide updates, Service Guide Amendments