The United States Postal Service (USPS) has tightened up the rules when it comes to what you can and cannot mail. Some are obvious, some aren't. There are several things that you're prohibited from mailing.

I would familiarize yourself with the below list of what you're banned from mailing, so you're not disappointed when you get to the post office and are denied.

McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing
McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing

By the way, there are some things that can't be mailed by air but can be mailed by ground. Keep reading for those details.

You'll hear the USPS talk a lot about Hazmat. If you don't know what that means, it's short for Hazardous Materials. It's defined as, "substances that could injure people or cause damage if not handled properly, like chemicals or flammable items."

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Some Hazmat you absolutely cannot mail, some you can if you follow very specific rules, and others can only be mailed through ground transportation, not by air travel.

Here are some things you're banned from mailing:


Marijuana plant

You may have the urge to share with your friends but you can't, even if it's for medical reasons. It's illegal to mail marijuana. Although, you can mail CBD or hemp, but there are restrictions.

Alcoholic Beverages

still life with various glasses and bottles of alcohol

I know it would be fun to send a bottle of wine or a 6-pack to your friends for his or her birthday, that's not allowed. You're not even allowed ship other things in an alcohol box. If you're going to, you have to remove all the alcohol logos and labels.

Air Bags


There are chemicals in air bags that cause the bag to inflate when you've been in an accident. Those chemicals aren't safe to mail.



Not just anyone can mail firearms. Only licensed manufacturers and dealers can mail these, not me or most likely you.


Fuel pump in fuel tank
Steve Hix/Somos Images/Corbis

I'm not sure why you would be mailing gasoline but you're not allowed.


Dogs and cats snuggle together

You may be laughing right now because this seems so ridiculous, but there are some animals you can mail like reptiles and bees, but there are specific rules for mailing them.


detonating fuse and dynamite on mine

Strike-Anywhere Matches

Fire from match

These are the kind of matches that can ignite with any friction, making it dangerous to mail.

Prescription medications

A variety of prescription pills lie in front of their respective bottles.
Darwin Brandis

You and I are not permitted to mail any kind of prescription medication, only registered distributors with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Obviously, if anyone was allowed to mail them, that could lead to drug abuse.

Penalties for mailing prohibited items

Keep this in mind, if you do attempt to mail any of these things and get caught, you could face criminal charges and steep fines.

For more information, click here.

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