The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Fri., March 12, 2021
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.
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Although an increasing number of states are relaxing restrictions on growing cannabis at home, Washington is not one of them, as of press time.
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