April 3, 2014 / 1:30 AM / 6 years ago

Seattle man goes to police after getting surprise pot shipments

(Reuters) - A Seattle man who became concerned after receiving two surprise packages of marijuana in the mail within a month took the shipment of about half an ounce of plastic-wrapped pot to police, authorities said on Wednesday.

When the first package arrived last month, the man threw it in the garbage, Seattle police spokeswoman Detective Renee Witt said. But on Monday, after another package reached his front door, he took it to authorities.

Washington and Colorado became the first U.S. states to legalize recreational pot in voter initiatives in 2012, and Washington law allows people to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.

But shipping the drug through the U.S. Postal Service remains illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal narcotic, although the Obama administration has issued guidelines giving states new leeway to experiment with legalized cannabis.

Authorities said the pot mailed to the Seattle man’s home came marked “return to sender, insufficient postage,” and had been addressed to a business in Georgia. It listed the man’s home as the return address.

“Federally it (pot possession) is still considered a crime, so you absolutely cannot under any circumstance send marijuana through the mail,” Witt said.

She said a similar incident happened about a year ago, when another man brought in pot that had been sent to his address, listed as the sender, citing insufficient postage. In both cases, police documented the pot before destroying it.

Witt said the two cases do not appear to indicate a broader problem of people mailing pot from Washington state to states where possession of the drug remains against the law.

“We don’t see this very often,” she said. “For us it’s not something we’re worried about.”

Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham

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