Are Cannabis Seeds Legal to Buy?

Growing your own organic cannabis at home might seem like a dream come true. But are cannabis seeds legal in the U.S.? The question “is it legal to buy weed online” is a fairly easy one to answer, but seeds present a host of issues that might not be immediately obvious.

Can You Legally Buy Cannabis Seeds in the U.S.? 

Many Canadian and Dutch seed banks will gladly ship to any state in the U.S. They may advertise their products as being “for novelty purposes only and not intended for growing.” This has led some U.S. buyers to believe that purchasing seeds is legal even in non-cannabis-friendly states. 

In reality, federal law prohibits the shipping and interstate/international transport of cannabis seeds. So while it’s easy to find seed banks that will send cannabis seeds discreetly to your home, it’s important to know that you purchase at your own risk. 

Purchasing Seeds vs. Planting Seeds

If you’re interested in purchasing cannabis seeds, it’s probably because you’d like to grow these seeds into plants and not just look at them sitting on a shelf. Ironically, “sitting on the shelf” is what a lot of cannabis seeds are doing these days because many states don’t allow cultivation. 

According to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, hemp seeds (containing less than 0.3% THC) may be sold in the U.S. as long as they’re sterile and can’t be grown. Hemp or marijuana seeds that are destined for cultivation usually need to be grown and harvested by a licensed grower.

States That Allow You to Grow Cannabis

There are several states that allow you to grow your own cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. At the time of writing, 16 states permit home cannabis cultivation for medical and/or recreational reasons and eight of these allow you to grow the plant for recreational use.

Ironically, cannabis seeds are not legal in some states where purchasing and using the substance is. As a prime example, the state of Illinois permits adult recreational marijuana but does not permit you to grow this plant at home either with or without a medical marijuana card.

What You Need to Know if You Want to Grow Cannabis

For those green thumbs who are keen to try their hand at planting cannabis seeds at home, keep the following points in mind:

  • You will need to find out whether growing cannabis is legal in your state and whether this permission applies to recreational and/or medical users.
  • You will need to find out how many cannabis plants you are allowed to have and how many of these are allowed to mature (flower) at once.
  • You will need to find out whether you are allowed to share your fresh or dried cannabis flowers with other people or may only cultivate for personal use.
  • If you are allowed to grow cannabis at home, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable cannabis seed supplier who can advise you on the best strain(s) to plant.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing like home-grown cannabis for freshness and personalization, but purchasing and planting cannabis seeds could create legal problems for you down the road. Before you order a packet of seeds online, research the laws and potential penalties in your state. 

In a grow-friendly state like Colorado or California, you probably won’t attract the ire of law enforcement. But that may not be the case in a state where home cannabis cultivation is prohibited. Always know what you’re dealing with. 



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