Postal Service losing track of pot-filled packages in its possession

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The U.S. Postal Service is having a little trouble with the mail.

An audit of the federal agency, which specifically looked at how it handles cannabis-infused shipments, revealed that more than 200 packages believed to contain the drug went missing during internal shipments in 2019, Marijuana Moment reports.

According to the audit, 188 of the 15,941 confiscated packages went missing after discovery by an inspector; it attributes the problem, in part, to pot’s pungent smell and inspectors not using suggested mailing methods that would obscure the odour and prevent “the risk of theft by postal employees processing this mail.”

“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 stated. “In addition, when suspect packages which contain legitimate mailable items are sent to (government location redacted) and are lost, this could impact the Postal Service’s brand reputation.”

According to the Office of the Inspector General, the body that performed the audit, 98 per cent of the pot-suspected packages that vanished had been sent using Express and Priority mail, a less secure method of delivery.

The OIG consulted with Canada Post to compare tactics and found its neighbours to the north use scent-proof packaging when internally moving mail that is believed to contain drugs, which has “contributed to a decrease in package theft and an increase in package safety.” It recommended applying the Canadian model of using scent-proof packaging on contraband.

The audit also called attention to the fact that the use of certain symbols or markings on cannabis-suspicious packages by the USPS may be making them easier targets for thieves.

The Postal Service pushed back on the recommendation to use scent-proof packaging, saying such packaging “does not exist for the overwhelming majority of parcels processed.”

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