Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?
Are cannabis seeds legal? The marijuana industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States. However, state and federal cannabis laws often contradict each other. Due to the complicated nature of these laws, most beginner cannabis growers might be wondering whether cannabis seeds are legal countrywide. This article will cover everything cannabis growers need to know about how and where to buy cannabis seeds legally from US seed banks.
Are Cannabis Seeds Legal in the United States?
Ungerminated cannabis seeds are legal in the United States as they are not considered drugs. The government recognizes that people can purchase seeds for other uses such as bird food, fishing bait, preservation, and as souvenirs (and not necessarily for growing marijuana). However, cannabis products are illegal under federal law. There is a lot of confusion around are cannabis seeds legal and today we hope to shed some light on this topic.
So Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?
But are cannabis seeds legal in all the states? The simple answer is yes. Anyone can buy cannabis seeds or “weed seeds” throughout all of the United States. However, each state has different laws, and in some states, cannabis is strictly illegal. There are some states where cannabis growers require licenses to grow cannabis for commercial purposes and allow the growing of a limited number of cannabis plants for personal use without approval. Therefore, growers must have licenses to buy cannabis seeds legally.
Where to Purchase Cannabis Seeds
There are many US seed banks. Seed banks have a variety of seeds from different breeders. It is easy to buy seeds from local seed banks. If a grower buys seeds from a state where cannabis seeds are legal, there are zero chances of facing legal repercussions.
There are also many world-renowned seed banks in Europe and other countries. As such, cannabis growers and other people interested in cannabis seeds can order them online.
When buying from seed banks outside the US, the Customs and Border Protection could seize any seeds they find even if they come from a country where cannabis seeds are legal. Growers should ensure that they buy seeds from a reputable seed bank when they are buying online. The seed bank should be capable of shipping to various states and know how to ship discretely to prevent detection and confiscation of the seeds.
Types of Cannabis Seeds
There are three main types of cannabis seeds: regular, autoflowering, and feminized cannabis seeds. However, the answer to the question “Are cannabis seeds legal?” depends on the location of the buyer.
Regular Cannabis Seeds
Regular seeds are produced naturally by a female plant and a male plant. There is a 50 percent chance that the seeds will produce male plants and a 50 percent chance that they will be female. However, male cannabis seeds are not as valuable because they will not produce buds rich in cannabinoids (though they are useful for breeding). Regular seeds also have more robust genetics and provide superior clones. Moreover, they are more tolerant of stress and show explosive growth.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Feminized seeds produce only female plants. As such, female cannabis seeds produce buds that are rich in cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Moreover, they are often photoperiod plants, which means they flower depending on the daylight and darkness hours. Using feminized seeds eliminates the unnecessary work of maintaining male plants. Feminized seeds give abundant, high-quality yields.
Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
Autoflowering seeds produce plants that flower automatically. Plants grown from autoflowering seeds automatically shift from the vegetative state to the flowering stage when they reach a certain age. This is starkly different from photoperiod-dependent cannabis plants that depend on the ratio of light to dark hours. Autoflowering seeds can produce multiple harvests in one season as they have a faster life cycle. They are most suitable for beginner growers because they are easy to maintain, but are also quite beneficial for those who have smaller growing environments, as well. They are resilient and can survive in harsh weather and extreme temperatures. Autoflowering seeds produce plants that give poor quality clones and buds with low THC content.
Bottom Line: Are Cannabis Seeds Legal?
So, are cannabis seeds legal? The bottom line is that cannabis seeds are not drugs and do not contain any narcotic components. However, marijuana plants can grow from the seeds. In some states where cannabis is illegal, people can buy feminized seeds if they don’t intend to grow cannabis plants from them. The complicated nature of cannabis laws means there are no guarantees on the legality of cannabis seeds in these states.
Please feel free to contact us with questions about the legality of cannabis seeds in your state. You can also check out our top-tier cannabis seeds.
Are cannabis seeds legal? The answer is quite involved given that state and federal cannabis laws often contradict each other.
A guide to buying cannabis seeds
The first couple months of the year is a great time to start planning your cannabis garden to get a head start on the outdoor growing season, which roughly runs from March to November, depending on where you live.
Navigating the cannabis seed market can be challenging when states have different degrees of legality. This guide will answer your questions on buying seeds so you can be on your way to growing your own cannabis.
Is it legal to buy marijuana seeds?
Marijuana seeds are considered a cannabis product just like flower, edibles, and concentrates. Their legality depends on which state you live in. People living in states with adult-use legalization can buy, produce, and sell seeds within their own state, but seeds can’t cross state lines. People living in states with medical marijuana legalization can only buy seeds if they have a medical card.
Seed banks exist outside of the US and can sell them for “souvenir purposes,” but it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds they find in packages or on a person.
Where can I buy cannabis seeds?
Many world-renowned seed banks are overseas in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and other countries where cannabis laws are less restricted. Seed banks provide seeds from a variety of different breeders.
In states with adult-use legalization or a medical marijuana program, you can buy seeds within your own state, either at a dispensary or through a specific seed company’s website.
How to buy cannabis seeds online
Before you purchase seeds online, you’ll need to figure out what strain you want to grow and what breeder you want to buy from.
Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start. To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:
- Sensi Seeds
- DNA Genetics
- Green House Seeds
- Southern Humboldt Seed Collective
- Exotic Genetix
You can also do some research and find an online grow journal that details the whole growing process of a specific strain from a particular breeder. Through these, you’ll be able to look over another grower’s specific notes and see pictures of the final results.
If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.
How to buy cannabis seeds at a dispensary
Although this option is only available to people living in states with medical and adult-use legalization, buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward. However, your options are more limited.
Dispensary staff should be able to give you information on the seeds they’re selling, but keep in mind that a lot of dispensaries focus on selling flower and end-products. It’s a good idea to call ahead and talk to staff to see if they are knowledgeable about seeds and can give you specific information on growing.
How to look for quality genetics when buying marijuana seeds
Breeders talk about “unstable genetics,” meaning that a seed’s origin is unknown. Make sure that when you buy a packet of seeds that it or the breeder who produced them can list where the seeds came from and how they were crossed and/or backcrossed to get the seed that you hold in your hand. If you can’t get a seed’s history, it could be anything and the result of poor breeding practices.
An inexperienced breeder might cross a male and a female one time and sell the resulting seeds as a new hybrid strain, but professional breeders usually put their strains through several rounds of backcrossing to stabilize the genetics and ensure consistent plants that reflect those genetics.
Which strain should I grow?
Even one weed plant can produce a lot of buds come harvest time, so make sure you grow a strain you like. Note strains you enjoy when you pick something up at the dispensary or smoke with friends, and look for seeds of it when you want to start growing.
Some strains are easier to grow than others because they are more resistant to mold and pests, so if you’re new to growing, you may want to try an easier strain to start.
Some strains also take longer to grow than others. Depending on whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, you may want to grow a quicker marijuana strain if you live in a climate that get cold and wet early in the season. For example, indicas are known for having a shorter flowering time than sativas.
All of this information should be available to you when buying quality seeds.
What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?
If you buy a packet of regular seeds, they’ll come with a mix of males and females. A lot of cultivators prefer to grow these because they haven’t been backcrossed—essentially inbred—as much as feminized or autoflower seeds. You’ll need to sex out the seeds once their reproductive organs show during the flowering phase and discard the males—because they don’t produce buds and will pollenate females, resulting in seeded flowers.
Seeds can come feminized, meaning you can just put them in soil and start growing for buds. These seeds are guaranteed to be bud-producing females and growing them cuts out the step of having to sex out plants and discard the males.
It also reduces the risk of having a stray male sneak into your crop—just one male can pollinate a huge crop, causing your females to focus their energies on producing seeds instead of buds.
Autoflower plants change from the vegetative to flowering state with age, not the changing of their light cycle. They have a short grow-to-harvest time and can be ready to harvest in as little as 2 ½ to 3 months from when you put the seeds in the ground. The downside is that, typically, they are less potent, but autoflower seeds are great for people who want to grow cannabis but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it.
How much do marijuana seeds cost?
Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.
Feminized and autoflower seeds will cost more because more breeding work was put in to creating them and they take less time for the grower to get buds.
How many seeds should I buy? Are they all going to survive?
When you grow any amount of seeds, a percentage of them won’t germinate, even if you get them from a reputable breeder. Always count on a few not germinating or dying off, or roughly 1/4 of the total you put in the ground.
When growing regular seeds, some won’t germinate and some will have to be discarded because they’ll turn out to be males. With feminized seeds, some won’t germinate, but a higher percentage of them will turn into flowering plants because there won’t be any males.
If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds and are growing from regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized seeds, you can probably start with about twice as many seeds in this case (about 12); a couple won’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.
Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.
How do I buy strain-specific cannabis seeds?
Strains like Blue Dream, Gelato, and Original Glue have gained in popularity in recent years. Check out these resources on how to buy these types of cannabis seeds:
Pat Goggins contributed to this article.
Navigating the cannabis seed market can be tricky from a legal perspective. Get the answer to your top questions about buying cannabis seeds today.