Last month, the final rule on the delivery of vape cartridges and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) was released by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It appears to be bad news for consumers who order vapes through mail delivery. The new rule set adults shipping nicotine, hemp, and CBD vape cartridges to 10 lightweight non-commercial ENDS every 30 days. Also, the federal service had already prohibited THC vapes from being mailed or delivered. This will greatly affect nationwide buyers and sellers as they will have to cover the costs of other expensive shipping options. The new restrictions are aimed at regulating underage tobacco and nicotine usage; however, they will definitely affect all e-cigarettes users.
What will be included in ENDS products?
According to the definition of ENDS products and accessories, which includes batteries, power sources, and charging attachments for vaporizers, empty cartridges, reservoirs, or pods for vaporizers, attachments including mouthpieces and other accessories are included in the new restrictions. Basically, any component of the device will be limited upon the delivery of USPS if you vape hemp, THC, CBD, or simply tobacco.
How do cannabis and hemp get involved in this?
The regulations from USPS’ ENDS group chat and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s past judgments on CBD included marijuana and hemp-derived products under the Federal Register. The Federal Register states that “the FDA likewise has not approved any ENDS product for therapeutic delivery of any non-nicotine substance, including, in particular, CBD or other substances derived from marijuana.” This course of action directly affects any activities that relate to the transportation of any ENDS accessories from sellers to buyers around the nation. Moreover, the regulation concludes, that “Far from taking marketing claims of therapeutic benefit at face value, the FDA has undertaken enforcement action against companies making such claims about CBD and other cannabis-related products absent new drug approvals from the FDA.”
What about CBD flower and Hemp?
Fortunately, a product such as hemp-derived CBD that consists of 0.3 percent THC by dry weight still remains mailable in the market. However, it is still a tough break for users and retailers who rely heavily on mail and delivery services to consume hemp and CBD products from vaping. The cost of mailing from other couriers will certainly cause a burden on these sellers and consumers in the future.
Could you get an exemption?
The Federal Register provided mailers with guidance in preparing exception applications according to the volume in April 2020. For those sellers or shippers who are seeking an ENDS exception, an application toward the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) must be filed in the first place. Examples from the ruling on how to use exceptions and steps the shipper must take were revealed, such as labeling the package to say, “PERMITTED ENDS MAILING—DELIVER ONLY UPON AGE VERIFICATION.” More exception details and guidance will be included in the application toward ATF.
In my opinion, this course of action taken by the Federal Register will certainly change the way of ENDS product delivery and mailing methods are in the market. It will cost more and make it harder for consumers to get what they want compared to previous channels. However, considering that the starting point of the action was to protect underage tobacco use, it remains reasonable to put restrictions on mailing services. Users should definitely keep an eye on how to file an application to try to get exceptions if new and more strict regulations keep coming out in the future.