Last week the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was supposed to stop mailing vaporizer products. The ban has been in the works since the 2021 omnibus spending bill passed Dec. 21, 2020, but the ban did not take effect on April 26 as intended. USPS reportedly delayed implementing the ban because it needs more time to determine how to execute the related changes.
“Despite our best efforts, in order to ensure thorough and thoughtful consideration of the complex issues and voluminous comments by industry, individual, and governmental stakeholders, the Postal Service is unable to publish a final rule by [the] target date,” USPS spokesperson David P. Coleman told Hemp Industry Daily in an email.
Taking a look at the legislation
In December, legislators set new restrictions on the online sale of electronic cigarettes and the delivery of those products. The “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” was designed to help prevent underage youth from accessing tobacco and nicotine products.
Although this legislation was intended to curb the use of nicotine products, it was written in such a way that the restrictions also affect the sale and delivery of certain legal hemp products. The legislation defines an “electronic nicotine delivery system” as “any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device.”
One provision of this legislation bans the USPS from shipping vaping products or components to consumers. This includes e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, e-cigars, vape pens, advanced refillable personal vaporizers and electronic pipes, as well as any component, liquid, part or accessory that is sold separately.
The legislation does not specify that it only applies to tobacco or nicotine products, so many legal hemp products are inadvertently included in the ban.
The ban may be delayed, but it is not dropped
Although the mail ban is not in effect yet, it is reportedly still set to occur. Coleman reportedly explained that the rule would be finalized “as soon as possible.”
“Mailers should be prepared for implementation upon publication anytime,” he added.
A week before the ban was set to begin, the USPS reportedly reminded the industry to prepare for it. Presumably, this meant finding alternative ways to ship the affected products to customers. However, both FedEx and UPS have reportedly said that they will follow the USPS’s lead by also participating in the shipping ban.
USPS reportedly pointed out that companies could ask for exceptions but failed to explain if exceptions would be granted. It also warned hemp shippers to make sure they keep the proper paperwork readily available.
“For hemp-based products containing CBD with a THC concentration not exceeding 0.3 percent, mailers must retain, and prepare to make available upon request, records establishing compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws pertaining to hemp production, processing, distribution, and sales,” the notice said.
Numerous hemp retailers have reportedly voiced their concerns with the ban. According to Hemp Industry Daily, several hemp vape operators expressed how the ban “will severely harm their businesses.” Yet, it seems that the current delay in implementing the ban will not last long.