Is it illegal to have cannabis seeds in the us
Growing your own marijuana from seeds is a great way to get exactly the strain you want, available right at your fingertips. But if you’ve never purchased cannabis seeds before, you may be a little nervous. Which seed bank is the best to buy from? Is it risky to order cannabis seeds online? How do you know which shops are reputable?
The good news is that there are plenty of great seed banks that ship to the United States and that make ordering easy. The bad news is that there are also a lot of shady websites out there, and it can be hard to know whether you’re dealing with a legitimate business.
That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve vetted weed seed banks, read a lot of online reviews, and chosen some of the best online seed banks you can buy from in the U.S. These are responsible sellers that offer great strains, plus discreet delivery and reliable service. We’ve paired that with advice on how to buy marijuana seeds online, so the only thing you have left to worry about is choosing which bank to buy from.
Our Top 3 Seed Banks that Ship to the United States
There are plenty of reputable seed banks out there, but these three stand out to us. We’ve selected them as particularly great banks for American customers who want to buy online. All of these seed banks meet the following criteria:
- Selection of high-quality strains
- Long-term reliable reputation
- Discreet shipping
Without further delay, here are our picks for the best weed seed banks for Americans:
- I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM) Seed Bank
Claim to fame: ILGM has been around for 25 years and has earned their spot as a top cannabis seed bank. With a massive selection of strains and super dependable shipping to the US, this is a reliable go-to and a favorite for many growers.
- Free shipping to anywhere in the U.S.
- Super fast shipping (2-10 business days with an average shipping time of just 4 days)
- Wide selection of seeds
- Germination guarantee – if your seeds don’t germinate, they’ll send out a replacement
- Delivery guarantee – if your seeds don’t arrive, they’ll ship you a replacement for free
- Great customer service available 24/7
- A VIP program for frequent buyers
- Discreet packaging
- Higher prices than some of the competition
- $25 fee for delivery tracking
More About ILGM
ILGM is an international seed bank based in Amsterdam, but they specialize in shipping seeds to the United States and Australia. They actually have a distribution center in California, which is why their shipping to customers in the U.S. is so fast. It was founded in 2012 as a blog dedicated to sharing advice on how to grow marijuana plants successfully. Robert Bergman, ILGM’s founder, has kept that spirit alive, offering plenty of advice and a free e-book on how to grow healthy cannabis plants with big yields.
Since 2012, ILGM has become one of the best-known, most trusted cannabis seed banks. It brings together seeds from marijuana growers around the world. A great benefit of this bank is that you can find a strain that will work for you, whether you’re an experienced grower or just getting started. The selection can almost feel overwhelming, but they have a convenient strain guide to help you figure out which kind is best for you. Their strains include feminized, autoflower, high THC, high CBD, and high yield options.
When you’re choosing a seed bank, one of the most important factors is shipping to the U.S. ILGM is great because they provide a delivery guarantee and ship each order in discreet packaging (intentionally left vague). It’s nice to feel confident when you place an order that it will arrive on your doorstep no matter what.
For all these reasons, many growers have found ILGM to be the best seed bank that ships to the US. If this is your first time buying marijuana seeds online, this is a great place to start.
Claim to fame: MSNL claims to be the “Original Seedbank” because they’ve been around since 1999. If you care about long-term reputation, MSNL can’t be beat.
- High-quality, award-winning strains
- Super effective stealth shipping
- 90% germination rate
- Free seeds with every order (so you can try new strains)
- International shipping
- Affordable prices
- Longer shipping times to the USA (plan on 12-25 days)
- Charge for shipping to the U.S.
- No germination guarantee
More About MSNL
In the world of cannabis seed banks, standing the test of time is significant. MSNL has been around for over 20 years because they have high-quality seeds that their customers keep coming back to. Like ILGM, MSNL is based in the Netherlands. They source their seeds in the Netherlands and Holland and ship internationally out of the United Kingdom.
MSNL was founded by a geneticist, and they take a scientific approach to developing their strains. They work with a collection of local breeders to develop their own strains, which they put through their own extensive testing. In part because of this focus on local development, their prices are typically a little lower than other sellers. That means you can get a great deal, especially if you catch the strain you want on sale. The flip side is that you’ll probably pay a little more for shipping to the United States.
MSNL is famous for its stealth shipping option. This will cost you a little extra (£10.95, which comes out to about $15), but for many people, it’s well worth it. They’ll package the seeds inside an unrelated item, guaranteed to fool any nosey parents, roommates, or coworkers.
If you want to try some dependably high-quality strains and can wait a little longer for shipping, MSNL is absolutely worth a try.
Claim to fame: A Canadian cannabis seed bank with quick shipping to the United States and a big in-person presence.
- Guaranteed germination rate of 80%
- Fast shipping to the U.S. from Canada (2-7 business days)
- Guaranteed delivery – they’ll replace your order if your seeds are seized
- Stealth packaging for international orders
- Excellent customer service
- Relatively limited selection of strains
- $20 shipping charge for U.S. shipping
More About Crop King Seeds
Unlike the other seed banks on our list, Crop King Seeds is based in Canada. It was founded in 2005 in Canada. They had to temporarily move their business to the United States when it looked like marijuana was going to become permanently illegal in Canada. For a few years, they grew their business in the American Northwest. Then, in 2013 they were able to return to Canada, and they’ve been growing ever since.
Crop King Seeds has a robust and easy to use website, but they also have a large brick and mortar presence. If you ever travel to Canada, you can buy seeds from Crop King Seeds at their own storefronts or at hundreds of retail partners. You might also see Crop King appearing at any marijuana-themed events in North America. Some people really appreciate being able to visit a store in person and speak with real-life employees. If that’s the case, Crop King may be the right choice for you!
Crop King Seeds has one of the widest selections of seeds and regularly introduces new strains. They currently have over 500 different strains available, including autoflower, CBD, and feminized seeds. If you’d like to try growing something different, Crop King is a great place to find a brand new strain.
A major bonus for American customers is the fast shipping. Because the seeds only have to come from Canada, you can expect your shipment to arrive more quickly than an order from Europe or elsewhere. Crop King’s standard shipping takes 2-7 business days, and for a $40 express shipping fee, you can get it in 2-6 business days. They also offer a delivery guarantee. In the unlikely event that your order is seized by customs, they’ll replace it for free. They also guarantee that at least 80% of their seeds will germinate, or they’ll replace them – you guessed it – for free. These guarantees should give you a fair amount of confidence that you’re ordering from a reputable seed bank.
Is It Legal to Buy Marijuana Seeds Online?
Whether it’s legal to buy and grow your own cannabis seeds is a complicated question. Technically, marijuana is an illegal drug in the United States, meaning that according to federal law, it is illegal to buy or grow cannabis seeds. However, in practice, state law determines whether you can cultivate your own weed. States such as California, Alaska, Colorado, and Massachusetts allow people to legally cultivate their own marijuana for recreational use.
This means you can purchase and grow cannabis seeds without worrying. But be aware that all of these states have regulations on how much marijuana you grow, and there may be other limitations as well. Before purchasing cannabis seeds online, you should look up the regulations in your own state. Information you should know includes:
- Is marijuana legal recreationally or only medicinally?
- Do I need a license to grow my own marijuana?
- Do I need to pay fees to grow my own marijuana at home?
- How many plants can I cultivate?
- How many plants can be in flower at once? (yes, there are separate rules on this)
- How many plants are allowed in a single household? (important to know if you and a roommate are each interested in growing your own marijuana)
- Can the plants be grown indoors or outdoors?
- Do I have to hide my plants from public view?
- How much marijuana can I give to another person?
You can look up your state’s marijuana laws on the NORML website. It’s a good idea to check regularly (at least once a year) because laws about marijuana usage and cultivation are often changing.
Will Customs Confiscate My Cannabis Seeds?
According to federal law, cannabis seeds are not allowed to cross state lines. In theory, moving seeds across state lines or internationally could result in criminal charges. In practice, it’s very common for people to order cannabis seeds and have them shipped. There is a chance that U.S. customs will inspect your package and confiscate your seeds. Crop King Seeds, a Canadian seed bank, estimates that about 5% of their shipments into the United States are confiscated.
So what happens if customs confiscates your seed shipment? Will you get in trouble? The answer is: probably not. If your seeds are confiscated, you’ll receive a package with an official letter notifying you of the confiscation instead of the seeds. You shouldn’t expect to face any additional repercussions.
The worst consequence in most cases is the loss of the seeds you ordered. Luckily, there are a few ways around losing your money. Many international cannabis seed banks (including our top seed banks below) offer delivery guarantees. If you receive the dreaded customs letter instead of your seeds, simply contact the company you ordered from. If they have a guarantee, they’ll replace your order. As an additional precaution, you can follow our advice about discreet shipping below.
Tips for Discreet Shipping
Whether you’re concerned about customs or are worried about keeping your growing practices private, there are steps you can take to keep your seed orders discreet.
The larger an order is, the more likely it is to attract attention. And the more you risk losing if your order gets confiscated! If you need a lot of seeds, consider placing multiple small (or medium-sized) orders rather than one large one. You may want to distribute your risk even more by ordering from multiple vendors. You’ll likely pay a bit more in shipping, but if a shipment is confiscated, you won’t lose your entire investment.
One of the benefits of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is that they’re untraceable. So if you’re concerned about your purchases being traced back to you, check out using bitcoin. Many reputable cannabis seed banks offer bitcoin as a payment method, and some even offer a discount for using it.
A number of cannabis seed banks offer special discreet shipping options. Although most websites intentionally leave the details of these options vague, they typically involve hiding the cannabis seeds within other objects, such as DVD cases, pens, or flashlights. That way, even if the package is opened, it looks like something else. This can help ensure that your seeds make it through customs and can also be nice if you live with anyone who has prying eyes. Discreet shipping usually costs a little extra to compensate for the extra time and materials it takes, but it can be worth it. Keeping your growing practices private is the best way to protect your plants and prevent any trouble.
Why Are Most of the Top Seed Banks International?
We know a lot of people prefer to buy from U.S. brands and would love to purchase their seeds from American cannabis seed banks. Unfortunately, there are fewer options for seed banks located within the United States. That’s because of the U.S.’s patchy history with legalized marijuana. The most reputable seed banks are the ones that have been in operation for years, and those companies are located in countries where weed has been legal for a long time. It only makes sense that these great seed banks would need to get started in places where they can sell marijuana seeds legally. Luckily, international shipping means that these seeds are still available to customers in the United States.
Due to the way American law works, you can actually get into more trouble for shipping cannabis seeds between U.S. states then shipping them from out of the country into it. This makes it difficult for American seed banks to operate – they cannot send their seeds to customers in other states, even if marijuana is legal in both states. American growers should also keep this restriction in mind. Although facing legal consequences is rare, you can theoretically get into trouble for sending seeds across state lines. So if you’re buying seeds, keep them to yourself!
Today, there are a growing number of seed banks in the U.S. However, in many states citizens aren’t allowed to buy seeds to grow themselves. Instead, American seed banks sell to commercially-approved growers and manufacturers. If you live in one of the states where marijuana is legal, you may be lucky enough to be able to purchase American cannabis seeds in person from a seed bank or dispensary. Everyone else will simply have to be patient. If the trend of more legalization continues, we can count on more American seed banks opening and gradually developing great strains.
Ordering cannabis seeds from an online seed bank is surprisingly easy and secure. If you’re thinking of starting to grow your own marijuana or are simply looking for a new bank to try, any of our top 3 seed banks that ship to the USA would be a great choice. If you’re just getting started, you may even want to try ordering from a couple of different places so you can try different strains. However, many growers quickly end up with a favorite reputable seed bank they always come back to.
The best news is that buying cannabis seeds online is just the beginning. Before long, you’ll be growing your own plants and enjoying the fruits of your labors.
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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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.
Can you 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.
Check out our explainer and buying guide to cannabis seed banks for more info on buying seeds.
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.
Do dispensaries sell cannabis seeds?
Some dispensaries in medical and adult-use states sell seeds, but not all. Be sure to check or call ahead to see if they sell seeds. Buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward, however, your options will be more limited than shopping online.
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: