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Holiday Mailing Rush Reminder: Shipping Pot Still Illegal

DENVER (CBS4) - Amid the busiest mailing season of the year, the U.S. Postal Service is warning customers that shipping pot -- even within Colorado's borders -- is still against the law.

On charges that he used the post office to ferry pot across state lines, officers arrested Summit County David Malchow,after hotel staff in New York reported smelling marijuana in a package.

Investigators say it contained $64,000 worth of marijuana. It was mailed from a post office in Pagosa Springs, they said.

The holidays are a busy time of year at the post office.

"We're going to deliver about 470 million parcels all this month," postal service spokesman David Rupert said.

But some of these bags and boxes could be packed with pot.

In 2013, authorities seized 493 pounds of marijuana from U.S. mail, a number expected to rise for 2014 given its legal recreational status.

"The cannabis community does not condone that," said "Citizen" Jay Daily, a pro-marijuana activist. "We're building a movement here and we're trying to change people's hearts and minds across this great nation of ours."

He said it's not the publicity the industry wants.

"As a representative from an edibles company, I would have to say that could really hurt us financially," Daily said.

Despite Colorado laws legalizing the purchase of recreational pot, because marijuana isn't legal on the federal level, shipping it to Colorado isn't legal either.

"What some may not understand is, if you chose to ship an illegal narcotic say from Denver to Colorado Springs in the state, that is still a federal violation of law, even if it didn't cross state lines," Pamela Durkee, a U.S. postal inspector, said.

It's illegal, too, to use a private company to ship marijuana.

"If you want to enjoy the fantastic cannabis products that are available, come here and enjoy them," Daily said. "That's what we want."

Mailing marijuana or cannabis edibles, even within state borders, is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

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