Can you get in trouble for ordering cannabis seeds in the US? Can a potential cannabis grower get in legal trouble for ordering cannabis seeds online to the United States? Where can you safely Although an increasing number of states are relaxing restrictions on growing cannabis at home, Washington is not one of them, as of press time. Many cannabis business owners wonder how to legally purchase cannabis seeds in the U.S. and beyond. Find your answers here at FindLaw.
Can you get in trouble for ordering cannabis seeds in the US?
Can a potential cannabis grower get in legal trouble for ordering cannabis seeds online to the United States? Where can you safely buy marijuana seeds in the USA?
Can you get in trouble for buying marijuana seeds online?
I am not a lawyer or legal expert so please take anything I saw with a grain of salt. However, I’ve been growing since 2008 and running GrowWeedEasy.com to teach other people how to grow weed since 2010. Despite talking to literally thousands of growers who’ve ordered cannabis seeds online, I’ve never heard of a single example of someone getting in trouble with the law due to it. Not even in states where growing weed is strictly illegal, and not even as a secondhand story about someone else. It may be technically illegal to own cannabis seeds, but there don’t seem to be many prosecutions against cannabis seeds in the United States.
People rarely get in trouble for ordering cannabis seeds online.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no risk.
You never know when it comes to the American legal system, but from what I’ve seen, your risks with ordering cannabis seeds online are typically social and involve growing as opposed to the actual ordering process. When growers get in trouble, it’s nearly always due to the wrong person finding out about the grow. Whether it’s a nosy neighbor, your plants smelling up the neighborhood, or telling someone you grow weed. But when it comes to seeds, don’t tell your friends you plan to buy seeds because if you suddenly start showing up with a ton of amazing weed they’re going to realize you’re growing it. So if you plan to order seeds online, keep it to yourself.
How to protect yourself when ordering seeds online
- [Most Important] Order from a trusted cannabis seed bank that sells good genetics. Don’t get scammed with bad seeds or someone who takes your money and doesn’t send anything.
- Don’t tell anyone in your life that you plan to buy cannabis seeds or grow. They will remember your words when you suddenly start overflowing with dank weed and realize you’re growing.
- (Optional) Pay with crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum or another anonymous payment method (I personally order with my regular bank debit card but I live in California)
- (Optional) Order to a second home address if you have one, but this is likely unnecessary.
Where to order seeds safely in the United States?
Remember when it comes to buying seeds: Real seed businesses don’t contact you. They let you contact them. If anyone messages you to sell you seeds on social media, look out! It’s possible they will take your payment and send nothing. Always take a second to think before sending money to anyone, especially if they contact you (whether by DM, text message, phone call, email, etc.).
Recommended Marijuana Seed Sources
These sources have gotten great reviews from our readers:
– California, United States (I Love Growing Marijuana) – California, United States – Shipped out of the UK
Seed Supreme has the best cannabis seed selection of these options. They carry many unique strains from old classics to trendy newer genetics.
The Platinum Cookies plant I’m growing now from Seed Supreme is the one pictured here in the middle. So far it’s the fastest-growing plant in the tent (check out the grow journal in progress).
Ultimate Auto has the best yields of any auto-flowering strain I’ve grown so far. This plant produced over 4 oz per plant even with only a corner of the grow tent to itself.
The biggest downside to ILGM as a seed source is their website can be difficult to navigate and find the strains you’re looking for. Their strain search is wonky and sometimes the search results are unexpected. But hey, you may find new and interesting strains that way.
MSNL Seeds was founded by a geneticist and they only carry hand-selected strains. They have a relatively small strain selection but the yields, bud quality, and plant growth are excellent. Tends to be a little cheaper than other trustworthy seed banks.
I have had amazing luck with MSNL’s autoflowering strains, like this Auto Amnesia grown in a mini tent under a 100W LED grow light.
Can you buy cannabis seeds?
Although an increasing number of states are relaxing restrictions on growing cannabis at home, Washington is not one of them, as of press time.
While a bill that would allow adults 21 years and older to grow recreational-use cannabis at home has been introduced in the Washington state Legislature, currently the only legal exception for home growing is medical. If you have a Washington medical marijuana card, you can grow a small number of plants without registering, and up to 15 if registered.
If that’s the case, and you’re ready to start planting, where can you find seeds?
The short answer? It’s complicated. Even if you live in California, where it is legal for adults to grow cannabis at home, and you purchase seeds from a California-based seed bank, your package can still be confiscated if mailed.
In fact, you could get in more trouble for buying seeds from within the U.S. than from overseas, which is why the majority of reputable seed banks are in Europe.
How to buy seeds
Even though the United States is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of cannabis legalization, the herb remains federally illegal. For this reason, it might be best to get your seeds from a friend or buy directly from a licensed shop. However, in these cases, you’ll have limited options that may not be suited to how and what type of cannabis you want to grow.
For more variety you can buy seeds online, although there are risks. Consider having them shipped to a state where growing marijuana at home is legal. That way, if your package gets intercepted, it’s unlikely you will face legal consequences. But you may still face legal jeopardy if you have to cross state lines to bring them home.
You should also make your purchase from a reputable seed bank capable of shipping to numerous states that understands the need for discretion. If the seeds are confiscated, most firms will either send a new package for free or refund your money.
Where to buy seeds
One of the more trustworthy sellers in the United States is I Love Growing Marijuana. Its website features information about growing, what types of seeds you’ll need and more. The website and store are run by Robert Bergman, an expert cultivator, and provides free shipping to customers in the United States and Europe.
Other online marijuana seed sellers in the U.S. may use incorrect labels when shipping, with terms like “luxury bird food” or “fishing bait additives.” Stores also may sell seeds as “collector items” or “additives.”
Another site worth exploring is the Royal Seed Bank from Canada. This site breaks everything down by the legality of each U.S. state and provides a variety of options.
Since most seed banks that offer cannabis seeds source them from seed banks in European countries, you may want to search there too.
Cannabis seeds are not illegal in the European Union, and technically it’s not illegal to purchase seeds from another country. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a 1962 framework for marijuana legalization, is an international treaty signed by 180 countries stating that marijuana is classified as an illegal substance, but it says nothing about seeds.
Therefore, since international law takes precedence over a country’s own laws, cannabis seeds are technically legal in all 180 countries. However, when a product enters a European country, it becomes subject to that nation’s laws, which means it’s not easy to purchase seeds. For example, here is a look at cannabis seed laws in a few major European nations:
Germany: Seeds do not fall under the German Narcotics Act, so they are technically legal to purchase. Germany has prohibited the sale of cannabis seeds nationwide, but since the country is subject to the EU’s free movement of goods, having seeds sent to Germany is fine.
United Kingdom: At present, the UK allows for the purchase, sale, or trade of cannabis seeds whether you purchase them domestically or from another European nation.
Netherlands: Despite the nation’s relaxed attitude towards marijuana, it is still illegal to possess or purchase. However, you should have no issue purchasing cannabis seeds from a Dutch-based seed company.
Spain: Spain has a similarly lenient policy as the UK. Residents can buy and sell seeds if they are for personal use in private areas.
What to buy
There are three distinct types of cannabis seeds.
Regular seeds come from one female and one male parent and there’s a 50/50 chance that the plant will be the feminized version that will produce buds. However, you have no control of the plant’s gender and there’s always a chance you’ll waste weeks growing, only to learn a male plant will not yield what you’re seeking.
Feminized seeds have no male chromosomes and are guaranteed to provide resinous bud.
Autoflowering seeds are your best option if you want to grow indoors. These seeds have genetics which evolved in northern Eurasia, which makes them strong and sturdy. They are also mixed with cannabis ruderalis, a plant known for its ability to grow in harsh weather conditions.
One of the biggest advantages of autoflowering seeds is their ability to produce a minimum of two outdoor crops. When you grow them indoors, however, you can produce four or five crops a year, and certain strains can become mature in as little as 10 weeks. They are heavily resistant to mold and pests and produce a higher yield when exposed to powerful light sources.
You can learn more about the different types of seeds, strains, and how best to grow them on most seed bank websites along with any applicable local laws. Do your research, and keep in mind how, where, what and when you want to grow before making a purchase.
Always buy from a reputable seed bank. The last thing you want is to buy what you think are feminized seeds, only to discover that they are regular seeds only capable of producing male plants.
How much you will pay for seeds depends on the strain you buy. Typically, a pack of 10-12 seeds can be as low as $40 but expect to pay up to $500 for high-end strains.
You can purchase seeds within most states where growing cannabis is legal, but the issue is still complicated by the fact that the plant is federally illegal.
In the United States, cannabis seeds cannot cross state lines. Though rare, transporting the products across state lines could result in federal charges. This is true even if you are purchasing cannabis seeds in a state that authorizes it and are entering a state that also authorizes it.
For that reason, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney well-versed in cannabis law to make sure you are protected when buying seeds.
Kate A. Miner has a degree in visual anthropology, and has worked in marketing and advertising for many years. She writes, takes photos and teaches yoga.
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How to Legally Purchase Cannabis Seeds in the United States
Thinking about starting your own cannabusiness? You are not alone. From CBD to medical marijuana to edibles, legal cannabis has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with few signs of slowing down any time soon.
If your business will include cannabis growing or cultivation, then you are probably wondering how to get your hands on weed seeds. legally. Before taking that step, though, make sure your business has the necessary license to operate legally in your state.
First and Foremost: Know Your State Laws
State law governs if and how you can operate your cannabis growing business, and each state takes a slightly different approach. Your state may offer a large number of permits with few prerequisites, a small number of permits with an extensive application process, or something in between.
Here are a couple of other factors to keep in mind about the legality of cannabis seeds:
- State law treats growing marijuana for selling purposes differently from growing marijuana for personal use. Your state may allow you to grow a limited number of cannabis plants for personal use without a license. For example, Colorado residents over age 21 can grow up to six plants, with as many as three plants flowering at one time.
- Cannabis seeds can often be purchased legally for uses other than growing marijuana such as fishing bait, bird food, and preservation. The government recognizes that cannabis seeds have other uses beyond just growing more marijuana.
In addition to studying your state’s regulations, you should also join local cannabusiness groups and meet with a local cannabis business attorney for assistance. There is no such thing as going into the marijuana business too prepared. Once you are ready to take the step of legally buying cannabis seeds, you have a few options to choose from.
It’s Best to Shop Local, but Buying Online Is an Option
If you live in a state that permits the sale of marijuana seeds, your best bet is to shop locally for high-quality seeds. This means visiting a dispensary, local farmers market, or seed company in your state to make your purchase. There, you can get the in-person help you need to make your purchase legally.
It is also an option to buy cannabis seeds online from an online seed bank and then have the seeds shipped to you, so long as you are abiding by state law. The risk here is that your package could still be confiscated. While it is unlikely that you would face criminal charges, there is no guarantee because of the way federal law treats marijuana products.
Can I Buy Cannabis Seeds in Other States or Countries?
You shouldn’t have any trouble buying cannabis seeds in another state or country if it’s legal there. It’s bringing the seeds back to your home state that can get you into trouble.
In the United States, cannabis seeds cannot cross state lines because marijuana products are still illegal under federal law. Though rare, transporting the products across state lines could result in federal criminal charges. This is true even if you are purchasing cannabis seeds in a state that authorizes it and entering a state that also authorizes it.
The same is true for buying cannabis seeds in another country. It may sound like a great idea to buy cannabis seeds while visiting one of the world-renowned marijuana seed banks that exist in places such as the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. But when you re-enter the U.S. with your goods, Customs and Border Protection will seize any seeds they find, even if your plane landed in a state where they are legal. Again, it goes back to marijuana being illegal under federal law.
How Much Do Cannabis Seeds Cost?
How much you will pay for cannabis seeds depends on the strain of marijuana you buy. Typically, a pack of 10 or 12 seeds starts at around $40. You can expect to pay up to $500 for high-end strains. Again, it is important to only buy cannabis seeds from a legal and reputable seed bank or dispensary — and only if you know you are abiding by state law.
Legal Help for Cannabusiness Entrepreneurs
Cannabis law is an ever-evolving tangle of state and federal regulations that often contradict one another. Additionally, the cannabis industry is very new, and still illegal under federal law. For these reasons, it’s important to seek the advice of a business attorney well-versed in cannabis law so that your venture starts out on the right track and you avoid legal problems.