Cannabis legalization in the United States has been a long journey that’s not yet complete. In 2019, cannabis is fully legal in some states, only legal for medical purposes in other states, and still fully illegal in certain states, as well. Meanwhile, marijuana is still banned by federal U.S. law.
This creates a confusing legal landscape for aspiring gardeners who would like to buy and grow cannabis seeds in the United States, as well as to people who would simply like to kick back with a bowl every now and again. In this article, we’ll cover the laws (as they currently exist at the time of publication) to bring you up to speed, as well as discuss a few places where you can find high-quality marijuana seeds for sale.
U.S. Cannabis Laws in 2019
The United States is governed by federal law that provides direction for the entire country, but each of the 50 states (and Washington D.C.) has the power to make their own laws, as well. Over the past several years, cannabis activists in the U.S. have been delighted by the amount of forward progress that’s been made around legalizing cannabis (in some states) and providing access to it for medical purposes (in others). All of that progress has been made at the state level, however. Let’s take a look at federal cannabis legislation and how it affects the states.
Federal Cannabis Law in the United States
In 1970, the U.S. government classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This put marijuana in the same category as hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine and effectively made it illegal to buy or grow cannabis seeds, use marijuana, or possess it in any form anywhere in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies drugs according to factors such as their potential for abuse, pharmacological effects, the amount of scientific knowledge that exists about it, and its risk to public health.
The Obama Years
When President Obama was in office, it was highly expected that the DEA would reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II drug (The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act (CARERS) of 2015 was tendered to this effect). This would have loosened many of the restrictions on it – including laws that prevent much-needed research on its effects and medicinal uses. In 2016, DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg disappointed U.S. cannabis activists when he refused to reclassify the drug, stating that it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” as well as its potential for abuse.
Still, under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department operated under the guidance of former U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole, who in 2013 issued a memo directing federal prosecutors and law enforcement to only focus on large-scale marijuana distribution by gangs and criminals rather than targeting recreational and medical cannabis operations that had been approved in various states.
The Trump Administration
When Donald Trump took office in 2017, his administration made it clear that forward movement on cannabis legalization would be grinding to a halt. In 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, sending a warning shot across the bow of state-approved marijuana operations across the country.
A wave of change came, still under the Trump’s administration, when the president signed the farm bill rescheduling hemp, marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin in December 2018. This made cannabis under 0.3% THC legal once again. This bill doesn’t legalize the buying of cannabis seeds for cultivation and for medical users, however.
While actual enforcement of federal drug laws against retail operations in states with approved marijuana operations hasn’t taken effect, the Trump administration’s stance on cannabis has alarmed advocates. The question now is, where does this leave people who would like to buy cannabis seeds and grow their own crops, as well as medical users or people who enjoy buying a bit of weed from their local dispensary?
This largely depends on which state you live in. Let’s discuss marijuana laws for growers, medical users, and recreational users at the state level next.
State Laws for Growing Cannabis Seeds in the U.S.
The state of California was the first to set foot in the waters of cannabis legalization way back in 1996. That’s when they legalized medical cannabis, and many other states have followed suit ever since – either by making it fully legal for anyone over 21 to buy, possess, and grow cannabis seeds or by passing limited laws to allow medicinal use.
Let’s look at growing first. In some states, it’s legal to purchase weed from a licensed dispensary, but it’s not legal to grow your own. This can be quite confusing. So where are you legally allowed to do so? Here are the U.S. states where you can legally buy and possess cannabis seeds for recreational purposes, as well as grow your own plants. We’ll also mention any specific restrictions that apply to the number of plants you’re allowed to grow. It’s worth noting that if you’re legally allowed to possess flower in a state, the laws there will generally allow you to possess cannabis seeds – you just might not be allowed to grow them.
In a household with two adults (or more) that are over the age of 21, up to 12 plants are allowed and only 6 of them may be flowering at one time. (For households with just one adult over 21, the limit is 6 plants with 3 flowering at a time.) If you have a commercial license, there is no limit on the number of plants.
Individuals are allowed to purchase their own marijuana seeds and grow up to 6 plants. All plants must be kept under lock and key and can’t be visible to the public. Cities in California are allowed to prohibit their citizens from cultivating marijuana seeds outdoors.
In this part of the United States, it’s legal to buy your own cannabis seeds and grow up to 6 marijuana plants, with 3 flowering at a time, and a limit of 12 plants per household unless certain requirements are met.
Laws in Maine allow people to freely possess marijuana seeds and grow up to 6 plants. You may grow them indoors or outdoors, but the plants can’t be visible from public roads or from the sky.
The state of Massachusetts allows people over the age of 21 to grow up to 6 plants in a single residence. In a residence of two or more adults, the state allows for the cultivation of up to 12 plants.
Individuals above the age of 21 or households with more than one adult are allowed to grow up to 12 plants in an area that’s completely enclosed and locked up.
Adults over the age of 21 are allowed up to 12 plants per household, with 6 flowering at one time. All plants must be kept locked up and out of sight.
Adults over the age of 21 can legally buy cannabis seeds and grow up to 4 plants per household. You may also grow outdoors if you don’t live within 1,000 feet of a school and as long as the plants aren’t visible from the street.
The District of Columbia allows and individual above 21 to legally grow up to 6 plants, but only 3 can be mature at one time. In a resident with more than one adult above 21, up to 12 plants could be grown, with only 6 maturing at a time.
Cultivating Cannabis Seeds for Medical Users
In all of the states listed above, growing cannabis is legal for any purpose – recreational or medical. Several other states have legalized medical cannabis, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they allow patients to grow their own medicine. Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia all have laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, but don’t allow patients to grow their own.
As of 2019, the following U.S. states allow medical patients to legally possess marijuana seeds and cultivate plants:
Medical users can grow cannabis seeds only if they live more than 25 miles from their nearest licensed dispensary. If you’re qualified to cultivate cannabis seeds, you may only do so in a locked facility.
Registered medical patients and their caregivers are allowed to cultivate cannabis seeds and grow up to 10 plants.
Qualified medical patients in this state are allowed to cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants at a time.
If you’re a registered medical marijuana patient in Montana, it’s legal for you to purchase cannabis seeds and grow up to 8 plants at a time (up to 4 mature plants).
Patients with a medical marijuana card can apply for a personal production license to grow their medication at home, and grow up to 16 plants, although only 4 can be flowering at one time.
A qualified patient should have a state-issued medical marijuana license. The patient is then allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants, of which not more than 6 may be mature, flowering plants.
Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are allowed to grow up to 24 plants, up to 12 mature plants at a time.
Although Washington has legal recreational marijuana, growing is limited to medical purposes only. If you’re a licensed medical user, you can legally possess cannabis seeds and grow up to 4 plants, with a maximum of 15 plants per housing unit.
All of the above (both for recreational and medical growers) only apply to people and caregivers who are growing for their own private use. Commercial growing is another matter entirely; each state has its own licensing procedures, as well as different requirements for where a grow facility may be located and how it must be operated and maintained.
Laws Regarding Possessing and Using Cannabis
To be clear, currently it’s illegal at the federal level to grow marijuana seeds or to possess cannabis in any form – seed or otherwise. This is why international seed banks have become skilled at packaging their cannabis seeds in a manner that prevents them from getting stopped by customs and never arriving to their U.S. customers.
Cannabis laws differ from state to state, as discussed above. In most states where recreational marijuana is legal, you can legally grow cannabis seeds; Washington state is one exception. States with medical laws vary wildly; in some, patients are limited to purchasing their cannabis from licensed dispensaries, while in others, people are allowed to grow their own medication.
What about possession of cannabis in states that allow recreational use? Generally speaking, if you’re allowed to possess cannabis flower, you’re allowed to purchase and possess marijuana seeds, as well. (You just can’t grow those seeds if you happen to live in Washington state.) Here are the guidelines regarding possession in states where recreational use is legal:
You’re allowed to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams).
Similar to Alaska, the possession limit here is 1 ounce or 28 grams.
Again, 1 ounce or 28 grams.
This is a much more generous state; in Maine, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams).
You can legally possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of usable marijuana on you and up to 10 ounces (283 grams) securely locked away at home.
In Michigan, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) as well as up to 10 ounces (283 grams) securely locked away at home.
Here, you can possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams), but you can’t smoke weed in public places or in a moving vehicle, even if you’re not the driver.
You can legally possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis in public and up to 8 ounces (227 grams) of marijuana at home.
In Vermont, like in most of the other listed states, you are legally allowed to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.
The limit is 1 ounce (28 grams) in Washington state, also.
In the District of Columbia, you’re legally allowed to possess up to 2 ounces (57 grams).
Looking Forward: Possible Changes in U.S. Cannabis Laws
In a world where cannabis laws can change in the blink of an eye, it can be tough to keep track of where it’s legal to buy cannabis seeds, grow your own crops, or possess weed for medical or recreational purposes. Up until 2018, all eyes were on the United States to see if the federal government would make progress towards full legalization. In the least, advocates hoped for a reclassification of marijuana as a less-serious substance; this would allow researchers to receive federal funding to study it and learn more about its medical uses and side effects. While the current administration has made no more movement towards cracking down on state-sanctioned cannabis operations, cannabis still remain illegal on the federal level.
Individual states are another story. At the state level, laws move so quickly that it’s hard to know where cannabis may become legal next. In 2019, all eyes are on the following states to see if they’ll pave the way for people to freely possess and use cannabis, as well as grow marijuana seeds.
Minnesota already legalized medical marijuana in 2014 and now looking to legalize cannabis completely. Their incoming Democrat governor, Tim Waltz is no newbie in cannabis legalization. He authored the first ever standalone cannabis bill to pass a congressional committee. The election of a pro-legalization Democrat governor, who has influenced marijuana issues in the U.S House, is a pointer in the right direction not only for recreational cannabis legalization, but for ending cannabis prohibition.
New Jersey could soon join the slate of northeastern states with legal recreational marijuana. The state legislature isn’t fully in favor of the idea, however, and voters are nearly evenly divided on the issue (44 percent are against it, while 49 percent would like to see cannabis legalized in the state). The Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, campaigned on a platform of cannabis legalization. It remains to be seen whether the state will move forward or remain in a debate over the issue.
With so many states around them opting for cannabis legalization, New York is feeling the pressure to follow suit. Its governor, Andrew Cuomo, who opposed the idea just a year ago has been won over, still the state’s law enforcement isn’t fully on board. But with so many New York residents being able to easily travel to places like Massachusetts and purchase legal marijuana, it’s obvious that the state will see an influx of flower, edibles, and cannabis seeds – whether they want it or not.
Illinois is well poised to push for cannabis legislation as the incoming Democrat governor, J. B. Pritzker, hinged his campaign on cannabis legalization. Governor Pritzker whose zeal for the advancement of cannabis had led him to campaign in front of a medical cannabis dispensary, has assumed seat in the state with the same zeal. Furthermore, 63 percent of voters in Cook County, Illinois, are in favor of legalizing “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.” If this is any reflection of the electorate in the rest of the state, Illinois could be the next state to vote in recreational cannabis in 2019.
While some states put the possibility of legalizing marijuana on the ballot for voters to decide, in Connecticut, state lawmakers are discussing doing it themselves. The reasoning? Legal pot creates a huge stream of tax revenue. Dan Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, is reportedly drawing up potential budgets that include cannabis sales as a source of state funding. Connecticut may be the next state after Vermont to achieve legal marijuana through legislative process.
With several states in New England such as Vermont and Massachusetts legalizing marijuana, the pressure is building strong on New Hampshire to legalize it as well. 2019 may be the year they consider cannabis reform. Their governor, Chris Sununu, is opposed to full-scale marijuana legalization, but marijuana activists are hopeful that his decision would be overruled by the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature.
After years of objecting to cannabis legalization policy reforms, Rhode Island’s Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, is beginning to come around. With neighboring Massachusetts permitting the purchase and growing of cannabis, she believes it’s impractical to say the state isn’t going to legalize and regulate cannabis. Besides, the Republican house is giving their full support to cannabis legalization.
Other states may join this “what if?” lineup in time, but these are the most likely to see big changes in terms of allowing people to freely buy cannabis seeds, grow their own plants, and legally purchase marijuana. It’s impossible to know what the specifics of each state’s laws will be until they’re passed.
Where to Buy Cannabis Seeds in the United States in 2019?
When it comes to buying cannabis seeds in the U.S., the conflict between federal and many state laws have created a bit of a legal quagmire. If you function according to federal law, it’s technically illegal to buy cannabis seeds in the U.S.A. (or any sort of cannabis product) anywhere in the country, but if it’s legal in your state, you’re highly unlikely to run into any problems. It’s important to understand what the laws are in your individual state pertaining to buying cannabis seeds and cultivating them for medical or recreational purposes.
All of that being said, there are a variety of places that have marijuana seeds for sale if you have a green thumb and you’re interested. In states with legal cannabis, you can probably pick up marijuana seeds and even plants at local retailers. Many people find it’s even more convenient to buy cannabis seeds online, and there are a number of excellent seed banks that make shopping discrete and convenient.
While there is an up-and-coming community of U.S.-based seed banks, they tend to be smaller and not as well-known. The more-established seed banks are ones that function in parts of the world where cannabis legislation has progressed more quickly. The following are excellent choices for people interested in cultivating cannabis seeds in the United States.
MSNL Seed Bank
When it comes to buying marijuana seeds online from a well-established provider, MSNL Seed Bank comes in at the top of the pack. They were one of the first – if not the very first – seed bank to sell marijuana seeds online. In 2019, they’re still going strong as one of the hottest-trending seed banks in the world. MSNL provides an amazing selection with hundreds of quality strains and dozens of different categories and price ranges.
They’re headquartered in the UK and ship their products worldwide in discrete packaging (Extra stealth shipping is available as well). MSNL accept Bitcoin, credit cards, bank transfer payments, as well as cash and money orders. They constantly offer great promotions and also freebies with every order, Bitcoin and bank transfer orders automatically receives a 15% discount on top of any sales prices.
Ministry of Cannabis
Ministry of Cannabis, founded in 2007 in Barcelona, Spain, is a relatively new face in the online seed bank business – but they are very authentic and popular. Their strain selection is not too big with around 20 strains, feminized and auto-flower feminized, but each strain is hand-selected, Ministry of Cannabis put a lot of thinking and personal touch into each of their strains.
They ship their products discretely worldwide, accept payments in Bitcoin, Mastercard, Visa, bank transfer, moneygram (for orders of 100 Euros or more), or cash mailed directly to the address provided at checkout. Ministry of Cannabis offers one to five free seeds with every order placed, depending on the value of purchase, and their customer service experience is top-notch.
Crop King Seeds
Some buyers in the United States want to buy from a well-known company but aren’t comfortable buying marijuana seeds and having them shipped from overseas. For them, Crop King Seeds are recommended, a popular and well-established seed bank based in Vancouver, Canada. Crop King has an excellent selection of more than 30 strains. Their seeds are high quality and include regular, feminized, auto-flower, and even medical seeds.
They sell their products in over 100 brick-and-mortar locations all over Canada, as well as shipping worldwide in discrete packaging. Crop King accept Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin, and Interac E-Transfers (Canadian customers only). They’re also the only seed bank that offers a germination guarantee on its products.
In Conclusion: The Legality of Buying Cannabis Seeds in the U.S.
The current state of cannabis laws in the U.S. likely seems confusing to anyone traveling or visiting the country from overseas. To sum things up: all cannabis – from marijuana seeds to flower – is illegal at the federal level. However, federal enforcement does not currently focus on state-approved cannabis or individuals possessing small amounts.
At the state level, it’s important to research and know what the laws are before buying cannabis seeds, possessing, or using marijuana in any state in the U.S, specially before choosing where to buy cannabis seeds. Some states allow recreational cannabis use and most of those (minus Washington state) will allow you to cultivate your own cannabis seeds. Other states allow medical marijuana use, but only a few of those allow people to grow cannabis seeds – even for medicinal use. In the rest of the United States, cannabis is completely illegal (with the exception of CBD oil and low-THC cannabis oil, which has been approved in some states). In these places, state authorities will often arrest and charge you for possession and growing of marijuana seeds.
The legal and political situation regarding cannabis is quickly changing, however, so just because it’s illegal to grow marijuana seeds or use medical cannabis in a state today doesn’t mean that changes aren’t on the horizon a few months from now. We’ll do our best to keep you informed of those changes as they happen.