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Audit Reveals USPS Workers Aren’t Turning in Cannabis

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According to a new audit, workers from the United States Postal Service (USPS) aren’t adhering to rules and turning in packages with cannabis. The audit was published from the USPS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on March 13.

According to the findings, USPS’s mailstream is riddled with cannabis, and more importantly, isn’t being properly handled. The report indicates that 219 packages suspected of containing cannabis, out of 15,941, were “lost.” And based on available tracking data for 191 of them, postal workers did not adhere to the rules for 188 packages.

Auditors suspect that postal workers are either being careless with the way they handle packages suspected of containing cannabis, or that they are stealing the cannabis for themselves.

“When packages suspected of containing illicit drugs are lost or stolen, there is an increased risk that those drugs could be illegally distributed or used,” the audit reads. “In addition, when suspect packages which contain legitimate mailable items are sent to [redacted] and are lost, this could impact the Postal Service’s brand reputation.”

The OIG report also found that  98 percent of the suspected packages containing cannabis and that were lost had been sent using Express and Priority mail.

Interestingly, the OIG pointed out that USPS’s system may present a problem: USPS workers use a certain redacted symbol or marking on packages with cannabis that are shipped internally. And the OIG suspects that the symbol could lead to the parcels being stolen by the USPS’s own workers.  The report admitted that packages that “emit a strong odor and can be easily detected.”

Two years ago, a separate report also criticized the way USPS workers handle packages suspected of containing cannabis. USPS is often mischaracterized as a governmental entity—but it is not. In reality, USPS has been privatized since 1971. As such, USPS can monitor packages suspected of containing cannabis, more or less, as it sees fit.