Postal employees are probably stealing all of the marijuana being shipped illegally across the United States, according to a new report from the USPS Office of Inspector General.
It seems the federal government was interested to find out what was happening to the suspected cannabis contraband filtering in-and-out of postal facilities all over the nation. An internal audit, which was completed in October, found evidence of postal workers ripping into flagged parcels believed to contain marijuana and using it for their personal benefit.
Interestingly, not too many particulars on the USPS audit have been released. Although the post service inspector general’s office published a brief synopsis of its findings, acknowledging that an investigation did, in fact, take place, the agency has refused to divulge the entire scope of its findings, citing protection under the Freedom of Information Act.
“We did not post this report due to concerns that some of the information was sensitive and thus protected under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” a posting reads on the USPS Inspector General’s website.
However, the folks at U.S. News and World Report submitted a FOIA request and got their hands on the document – most of it “thoroughly redacted,” according to the news source. It seems the text contained three redaction codes, one of the most common of which suggested was put into place to protect “information of a commercial nature, including trade secrets, whether or not obtained from a person outside the Postal Service, which under good business practice would not be publicly disclosed.”
Nevertheless, the bulk of the report does indicate that the marijuana being shipped through the mail is likely going home with your local mailman. The internal investigation found that while packages suspected of containing cannabis products were being quarantined for further inspection, there are currently no precautionary measures being enforced to ensure pot packages do not fall susceptible to internal theft.
“At one facility, management was unable to explain why a cage used to store suspected pot mail had its lock broken. At another, the suspect packages were left in an unlocked office. At a third, they sat unguarded on a table,” the analysis from U.S. News reads.
Unfortunately, it cannot be confirmed that the USPS Inspector General caught postal employees taking marijuana home. That’s because all of the findings detailed in the report were scribbled out (or redacted) with yellow marks. Yet, as U.S. News points out, the report’s overall position remains clear: The federal government is recommending the USPS establish “a nationwide policy for handling, tracking and providing additional security for packages suspected of containing marijuana to reduce the risk of these packages being lost or stolen.”
Although marijuana is now fully legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, the federal government still considers the herb one of the most dangerous substances in the world. Therefore, it is highly illegal to transport marijuana through the mail – even within a legal state. If a postal worker suspects a package may contain marijuana, it is supposed to be set aside for review by postal inspectors. However, as it was made clear in the report, some of those packages may come up missing before USPS officials ever get a chance to examine them.