Cannabis Seeds UK Law: Growing Marijuana in the United Kingdom
Like the USA, the UK is slowly warming up to the cannabis craze. Indeed, a landmark 2018 decision out ofParliament downgraded cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 status mainly to help doctors prescribe the drug. Although UK law might be relaxing a bit, that doesn’t mean you could break our bongs by Buckingham just yet. There are many important restrictions on the buying, selling, growing, and smoking of cannabis still on the books. If you’re caught breaking any of these laws, you could face serious financial penalties and even jail time.
Let’s run through all the legal issues surrounding cannabis in the land of tea and crumpets.
Purchasing Seeds In The UK
For a nation that’s so strict on the use of cannabis, the UK’s laws surrounding cannabis seeds are surprisingly lenient. Interestingly, it’s completely legal for anyone to purchase or sell dormant cannabis seeds in the UK. You also won’t face prosecution if you’re caught with unplanted cannabis seeds in your home.
Shop owners who sell cannabis seeds, however, should place labels on all of their products that make it clear they aren’t intended for planting. Cannabis seeds should only be used for recreational purposes like fishing or feeding birds. Customers should also err on the side of caution and just keep their yapper shut when buying cannabis seeds. Even if you’re asking about growing marijuana purely out of curiosity, these questions could easily be taken the wrong way and vendors could refuse to sell you cannabis seeds.
Growing Seeds In The UK
Since marijuana remains Schedule 2 drug in the UK, it’s illegal to plant cannabis seeds. This also means, of course, that it’s illegal to sell, share, or possess weed in the UK. You could face as high as 14 years in prison and/or a hefty fine if you’re caught in any of these scenarios.
The only time police will make an exception is if you’re only caught with a very tiny amount of cannabis (about one ounce) in your possession. It’s not a wise strategy, however, to bet on catching a chill cop. You could also legally use marijuana for a legitimate medical purpose, but we’ll get to that a bit later.
Smoking Weed In The UK
Obviously, since it’s illegal to grow, sell, or possess weed, you also can’t smoke cannabis recreationally in the UK. Anyone caught in the act of ingesting weed could face several years in jail and an unlimited fine.
Despite this legal status, marijuana remains one of the most common illegal recreational drugs used in the UK. Government statistics reveal about 7 percent of UK’s population has used or is using marijuana recreationally, and the drug is especially popular with young adults.
Because marijuana is so commonly used in the UK, some police forces have begun reducing the number of cops focused on this issue. For instance, officers in Durham told the press they aren’t prioritizing the search and seizure of marijuana. Even though local officers might have different priorities, this doesn’t change the national policy on marijuana use.
What’s The Deal With Medicinal Cannabis?
As mentioned in the intro, cannabis was downgraded to Schedule 2 status in 2018. This means UK specialists can legally prescribe cannabis to patients with certain ailments. While this new legislation opens the doors to the UK’s budding medicinal cannabis industry, keep in mind that this is only the first step. Indeed, the NHS admits it’s having a difficult time adequately filling out new requests for medicinal cannabis.
One of the major issues surrounding medicinal cannabis has to do with licensing. There are currently only a few cannabis drugs on the market that have gone through rigorous pharmaceutical testing, and research into cannabis’s medicinal potential is still only in the initial phases. The drug industry is struggling to figure out how to adequately regulate herbal, oil, and tincture formulas of cannabis, especially considering different strains of this drug could have significantly different physiological effects.
There are, however, two cannabis-infused drugs that are widely recognized by the medical establishment. Anyone in the UK who suffers from multiple sclerosis or epilepsy should ask their doctor about Sativex or Epidiolex, respectively. Both of these cannabis-derived drugs have been manufactured and tested for these specific diseases.
Could UK Residents Chill With CBD?
Another question UK residents have about cannabis regards the legal status of the popular compound cannabidiol (CBD). Found mainly in the hemp plant, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that some claim helps with a myriad of health conditions ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
The UK law currently allows for the purchase, sale, and consumption of CBD products that have been extracted from EU-approved hemp. Also, all legal CBD goods should have no more than 0.2 percent of the high-inducing cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The Future Of UK Cannabis Laws
As the 21st century rolls on, it’s likely Westminster will roll back their restrictive laws on cannabis. Indeed, recent UK surveys suggest public support only continues to grow for cannabis legalization. Although the future of cannabis legalization looks bright, UK residents must educate themselves on the current rights and restrictions related to weed.
The condensed version of the UK cannabis laws is that citizens can buy and sell cannabis seeds, but they cannot grow, possess, sell, or use the marijuana plant. The only exceptions to this rule are if you use a hemp-derived CBD product or have a prescription for medical marijuana from your doctor. To better understand cannabis’s sticky legal status in the UK, you can read through the country’s “Controlled Drugs List” on this official website.
Legality Buying Cannabis Seeds in the UK
The world is seeing a huge shift in terms of perceptions regarding cannabis. However, the UK has been largely left behind in this shift, and as such, cannabis is still very much illegal (with the exception of a few specific, high status legal cases).
As a result, growing cannabis – even on a small scale for personal use – is illegal too.
This differs from many other countries, where exceptions have been allowed for personal cannabis growing on a small scale. However, until the rules change, it is still going to be important for UK residents to stay on the right side of the law – and as such, knowing how to buy cannabis seeds legally in the UK could be of great benefit.
Current UK Cannabis Laws
The UK is falling behind many other countries globally – in particular, the United States of America and Canada – in terms of its cannabis legislation. As a result of this, ever since cannabis was made illegal in 1923, cannabis has remained an illegal drug.
In 1923, cannabis was added to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920. It was then further classified as a class B drug in 1971 with the arrival of the misuse of drugs act; though this means that cannabis is not considered one of the most dangerous drugs, it is still highly regulated as a class B drug, which is the same as amphetamines. This, ironically, is a far more lenient view of cannabis than in the US (where many states have taken action to legalize cannabis); indeed, in the USA, cannabis is actually classified as a drug akin to cocaine or heroin.
Penalties for Cannabis Use in the UK
When it comes to first offences, most UK residents will simply be given a warning. However, the penalties for cannabis use and possession after this first offence are usually more serious, with a penalty notice of disorder being handed out and a fine of up to £80. Third time offenders and later will then be liable for imprisonment and this will almost certainly end up on the individual’s criminal record, too. The maximum jail time for cannabis is 5 years, in line with the rules for other Class B drugs; however, it is important to note that there can be an unlimited cash fine as well as this.
With that being said, the punishment for cannabis use or possession in the UK is generally more lenient than the maximum jail time or fines, and most people – even repeat offenders – will get away with a much shorter jail time.
Factors that are taken into consideration when fine value or jail time is being decided on usually include the person’s level of involvement in the cannabis growing or selling operation, the scale of the cannabis growth/possession, and the criminal history of the individual.
Can Cannabis be Legally Purchased in the UK?
After all of this, you might be wondering – is it actually legal to purchase cannabis (or cannabis seeds) in the UK? Well, luckily, there is an option available to you.
A licence is obtainable from the Home Office to permit you to grow or obtain cannabis and this licence costs just shy of £600. It permits individuals to grow cannabis either for personal or industrial purposes (if a low THC strain is being grown that is intended for medicinal use) or for research purposes. However, recreational cannabis use or seed possession is still entirely illegal in the UK.
So, what does this mean for you? Well, we highly recommend that you take the legal route when it comes to cannabis; though the penalties might not be as strict for cannabis use in the UK as in some other countries, the UK police are very hot on cannabis. As such, there is a pretty good chance you’ll be found out if you try to grow cannabis illegally – indeed, it’s always better to stay on the right side of the law, and after all, there are provisions in place to make growing your own cannabis legal.
It is important to note here that cannabis seeds are actually legal in the UK, since cannabis seeds aren’t classified in quite the same way as cannabis itself. The seeds can be legally purchased for use as bird food, fish bait, or for a collection. However, it is illegal to consume the cannabis seeds and growing the seeds (without an appropriate licence) is also still illegal.
Where to Source Legal Cannabis Seeds in the UK?
If you want to source cannabis seeds legally in the UK, there are a few seed banks where you can buy them. Some UK licensed shops are actually able to sell legal cannabis seeds, and it is also legal to buy cannabis seeds online and have them delivered by mail! As such, if you don’t want to go into a physical cannabis seed store or if there isn’t one local to you – they are still very niche shops – then there are plenty of cannabis seed banks that will ship seeds to the UK for bird seed, fish bait, or collector purposes.
The final takeaway here, then, is that owning a small number of cannabis seeds is legal in the UK – so long as you don’t germinate the seeds and they are used for fish bait, bird seed, or as part of a collection. However, it’s important to make sure that you source your seeds from a reputable seed bank; luckily, there are many that are either UK-based or that ship to the UK, so you won’t be stuck for choice!