If you live in a state where it is legal to grow weed at home and there are not many restrictions on home cultivation, then you’ll likely be able to buy cannabis seeds directly from your favorite licensed dispensary. In some cases, you may also have the option of buying from a brick-and-mortar or online retailer.
However you go about buying cannabis seeds, you need to plan ahead. In many ways, successful germination and eventual harvest depend on getting the right seeds upfront. Fortunately, the cannabis industry is now offering an incredibly broad selection of seeds to choose from. 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.
How to decide which cannabis seeds to buy
If you browse through seeds being sold at a dispensary or an online store, you will immediately see feminized seeds, regular seeds, and autoflower seeds. A vital part of understanding how to buy cannabis seeds is understanding the differences between these categories that refer to the sex or maturation process of the seeds.
Outdoor growing inherently carries a different set of concerns, including the length of the outdoor growing season and other big variables. If you plan to grow marijuana outside, you should probably spend a bit more time researching the specific cannabis seeds you want to purchase to make sure they will thrive in your unique climate and environment. On the other hand, some cultivars thrive better outside and deliver better yields. And there are those who swear that weed grown outside under the sun simply tastes, smells, and smokes better.
When you buy regular seeds, some will grow up to produce male plants and others will grow into female plants. Therefore, growing regular cannabis seeds requires you to pay close attention to the sex of each plant so you can get rid of any males that sprout. Male marijuana plants produce fewer, smaller, less-potent flowers, and therefore will not give you much to smoke. Even worse, males will pollinate your female plants and cause them to produce low-quality buds that are full of seeds. If you plant regular seeds, plan to buy more than you might actually need, as a higher percentage of these weed seeds will produce male plants.
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.
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.
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.
What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?
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.
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.
If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.
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 live in a state that permits the sale of marijuana seeds, your best bet is to shop locally for high-quality seeds. This means visiting a dispensary, local farmers market, or seed company in your state to make your purchase. There, you can get the in-person help you need to make your purchase legally.
The same is true for buying cannabis seeds in another country. It may sound like a great idea to buy cannabis seeds while visiting one of the world-renowned marijuana seed banks that exist in places such as the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. But when you re-enter the U.S. with your goods, Customs and Border Protection will seize any seeds they find, even if your plane landed in a state where they are legal. Again, it goes back to marijuana being illegal under federal law.
You shouldn’t have any trouble buying cannabis seeds in another state or country if it’s legal there. It’s bringing the seeds back to your home state that can get you into trouble.
Can I Buy Cannabis Seeds in Other States or Countries?
In the United States, cannabis seeds cannot cross state lines because marijuana products are still illegal under federal law. Though rare, transporting the products across state lines could result in federal criminal charges. This is true even if you are purchasing cannabis seeds in a state that authorizes it and entering a state that also authorizes it.
It is also an option to buy cannabis seeds online from an online seed bank and then have the seeds shipped to you, so long as you are abiding by state law. The risk here is that your package could still be confiscated. While it is unlikely that you would face criminal charges, there is no guarantee because of the way federal law treats marijuana products.
State law governs if and how you can operate your cannabis growing business, and each state takes a slightly different approach. Your state may offer a large number of permits with few prerequisites, a small number of permits with an extensive application process, or something in between.
Here are a couple of other factors to keep in mind about the legality of cannabis seeds: