How to Legally Purchase Cannabis Seeds in the United States
By Kellie Pantekoek, Esq. | Reviewed by Bridget Molitor, JD | Last updated April 21, 2020
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 aВ local cannabis business attorneyВ 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.
Many cannabis business owners wonder how to legally purchase cannabis seeds in the U.S. and beyond. Find your answers here at FindLaw.
How to buy marijuana seeds
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- How do marijuana laws affect buying cannabis seeds?
- Plan Ahead
- How to buy marijuana seeds online
- How to buy cannabis seeds in a brick-and-mortar store
- Bottom line
Many cannabis consumers like the idea of growing their own marijuana plant — whether the plants are used for recreational purposes or to produce medical marijuana . Very often, people find it incredibly rewarding to consume cannabis that they grew themselves, and many enjoy being able to nurture their plant all the way from the seed to the final harvest.
Marijuana seeds are now easier to find and purchase than ever before. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Fortunately, marijuana seeds are now easier to find and purchase than ever before. That said, the way you go about buying marijuana seeds is still very dependent on the laws in your area. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to purchase marijuana seeds .
How do marijuana laws affect buying cannabis seeds?
The law is the first thing to take into consideration. Before doing anything else, you’ll want to double and triple check the laws in your area about which types of cannabis products you’re allowed to purchase as well as any laws about growing weed at home. This is important because the legal status of both cannabis products and home-growing cannabis will in large part dictate where and how you buy your seeds . If you live in a state where it is legal to grow weed at home and there are not that many restrictions on home growing, then you’ll likely be able to buy cannabis directly from your favorite licensed dispensary. In some cases, you may even have the option of buying from a brick-and-mortar retailer or an online retailer.
However you go about buying your cannabis seeds , you need to plan ahead. Here are some of the most important factors you need to think about to ensure that the marijuana seeds you buy will meet your needs and objectives.
Indica, sativa, or hybrid
There is a seemingly endless variety of cannabis strains now in existence. Before buying marijuana seeds you need to know what kind of weed you want to grow. Start off by figuring out if you want to grow an indica-dominant , sativa-dominant , or hybrid strain. As a broad generalization, indica-dominant strains tend to produce effects more pronounced in the body, often contributing to pain relief, relaxation, and feelings of sedation or even sleepiness. Sativa-dominant strains are typically recognized as producing more cerebral highs that can be energizing and mentally stimulating. Hybrid strains produce a variety of effects depending on the specific mother strains used to create the hybrid.
Which strain do you want to grow?
Beyond the three main categories of indica, sativa, and hybrid, you should also figure out which specific strain you want to grow. If you are not totally sure which strain you want to grow, or you’re curious to learn about other strains that you might not be familiar with, browse through the online catalogs of reputable seed banks and read about the various strains currently available.
When you’ve decided which strain you want to grow, be sure to do a bit of research to familiarize yourself with the unique growing needs and specifications of that strain. While there are general guidelines for growing any type of cannabis, different strains also have their own specific needs. Similarly, some strains do better in specific parts of the world or climates. You should grow a strain that is well-suited to the growing environment you will be creating for your plants .
Growing indoors or outdoors?
You also need to decide if you will be growing your marijuana indoors or outdoors. Growing inside gives you a bit more flexibility as you can control and fine-tune the growing culture for your plants . This gives you more freedom in terms of which seeds you decide to buy. If you plan on growing outside, you should probably spend a bit more time researching the specific seeds you want to purchase to make sure they will thrive in your unique climate and environment.
Growing inside gives you a bit more flexibility as you can control and fine-tune the growing culture for your plants. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Regular seeds, feminized seeds, or autoflowering seeds?
If you browse through seeds being sold at a dispensary or an online store, you will immediately see some seeds described as feminized or autoflowering. A vital part of understanding how to buy cannabis seeds is understanding the differences in the types of seeds being sold.
Depending on how a seed has been bred, you can purchase regular cannabis seeds , feminized cannabis seeds , or autoflowering cannabis seeds . These are not strains of marijuana ; they are categories that refer to the sex and maturation process of the seeds .
When you buy regular seeds , some will grow up to produce male plants and others will grow into female plants . You need to be aware of this because growing regular seeds requires you to pay close attention to the sex of each plant so that you can get rid of any males plants that show up. Male marijuana plants do not produce flowers, and therefore will not give you anything to smoke. Even worse, males will pollinate your female plants , producing low quality buds that are full of seeds . If you plant regular seeds , you should plan on buying more seeds than you might actually need, as a higher percentage of these seeds will produce male plants .
On the other hand, feminized seeds have been bred to produce only female plants . This means you won’t need to buy quite as many seeds because a higher percentage of the seeds you plant will grow into productive females. However, feminized seeds are not fail-proof, so you should still pay attention to the sex of your plants as they mature so you can spot and eliminate any males that might pop up. In general, feminized seeds are easier and more straightforward to grow.
Finally, autoflowering seeds have more to do with the growth cycle of the marijuana plant. When growing regular seeds , you will need to adjust the type and amount of light your plant receives in order to trigger the flowering process. But autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce a plant that automatically flowers without you needing to be fully on top of altering the light your plant receives.
Autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce a plant that automatically flowers without you needing to be fully on top of altering the light your plant receives. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How many plants do you want to grow?
Regardless of the strain you buy, or if you buy regular seeds , feminized seeds , or autoflowering seeds , you should have an idea of how many plants you’ll want to grow. It’s also a good idea to circle back to your area’s laws and check the number of plants you’re legally allowed to grow.
You should always plan on a certain percentage of your seeds failing to germinate or growing into weak and unviable plants . Understanding this, you should plan on purchasing more seeds than you think you will need. As a general guideline, assume that at least 25% of the seeds you plant will, for one reason or another, not make it to harvest. For best results, buy and plant more seeds than the number of mature plants you want to produce.
How to buy marijuana seeds online
Buying seeds online is in many ways the simplest way to purchase cannabis seeds . Buying online makes it convenient to research and learn about the various strains you can grow. Online retailers often have a larger selection to choose from than smaller brick-and-mortar retailers.
At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks to buying seeds from an online store. For one, some weed-legal locations still outlaw buying and shipping seeds across state or national borders. There are also issues of reliability. If you want to buy from an online seed bank , take some time researching the company. Make sure they are reputable and in good standing with their customers.
How to buy cannabis seeds in a brick-and-mortar store
Buying seeds directly from a brick-and-mortar shop gives you the benefit of being able to talk to an expert before making your purchase. Make sure the dispensary you’re buying from has budtenders who are experienced with the growing process.
Here are a few questions you should ask your budtender before making a purchase:
- What is the potency of the strain? If you are looking to buy seeds with a high THC level in the mature plant, you should ask if the strain tends to produce plants with high THC levels or high CBD levels.
- Are the seeds designed to grow into mature plants with high yields ?
- Are these seeds better suited for medical marijuana or recreational marijuana ?
In many ways, buying marijuana seeds is very much like buying anything else related to cannabis. Even in places where weed is legal, seeds are generally considered cannabis products the same as flower, edibles, oils, and anything else coming from the cannabis plant. For that reason, you should always pay very close attention to the legal status of marijuana seeds in your area. It may be easier today than ever before to find and buy high-quality seeds , but you’ll want to take the time to research your options before you make that final purchase.
How to buy marijuana seeds Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How do marijuana laws affect buying cannabis seeds? Plan Ahead How to buy