How does one grow marijuana without first breaking the law to acquire the seed? Cali bud could end up on the East Coast easier than you think, according to a new official determination from the DEA. I've always wanted to buy seeds online but im a bit nervous regarding the penalty for getting caught by Customs, what exactly happens if they do find seeds…
How you can legally grow marijuana in Virginia if buying and selling seeds is against the law
Diane Toscano said their law firm has been flooded with questions from clients about how to grow and to use recreational marijuana at home and not run afoul of the new laws.
RICHMOND, Va. — When Virginia’s new marijuana laws go into effect on July 1, it will become legal for adults 21+ to carry up to an ounce of marijuana. It will also become legal to grow up to four marijuana plants (per household) in Virginia.
However, it will remain illegal to buy or sell seeds with which to grow the plant.
How does one grow marijuana without first breaking the law to acquire the seed?
It’s a question that should be clarified once the new law officially takes effect and the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority jumps into action on July 1.
“Prior to decriminalization taking effect in 2020, the Commonwealth was arresting upwards of 30,000 Virginians annually for marijuana possession,” NORML development director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state chapter, Virginia NORML, said. “So while Virginians may be asking, ‘Where can get I cannabis legally,’ it’s unlikely Virginians are asking, ‘Where can I get cannabis?'”
The new law does provide at least one legal loophole for interested parties to get started.
An adult can legally share or gift a marijuana plant with another adult as long as no money is exchanged or trade occurred.
It will not be legal for that “gift exchange” to happen in public.
Christopher Haynie, who co-founded Richmond-based CBD, hemp, and home grow products store Happy Tree Agricultural Supply advised
Virginians thinking of navigating the new regulations to grow the plants at home to proceed with clarity and caution.
“What we don’t want in Virginia is for people who think they’re doing the right thing to inadvertently break the law and get in trouble for it,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us as responsible adults now that cannabis is legal in Virginia to follow the rules. I’ve never been much of a rule follower, but a lot of us have been waiting for this for a long time, so we’re not going to mess it up.”
It will also be against the law for Virginians to order seeds from other states where marijuana is already legal.
VirginiaNORML has answered some frequently asked questions here.
In April, the Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly voted to accept Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a marijuana legalization bill that will allow limited possession and cultivation of the drug starting in July.
Republicans, who overwhelmingly opposed the bill when it initially went through the General Assembly, railed against the latest version.
Del. Chris Head (R – Roanoke County) called the bill “a train wreck.”
“The hard-fought compromise that barely made it out of this chamber and over to the Senate has just been discarded. And why is that? It’s because some activists want marijuana legalized and they want it legalized now, consequences be damned,” he said.
It will be years before legal retail sales is allowed in Virginia.
The bill lays out the complex process of creating a new state agency to oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning and regulations going into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Weed seeds may be legal to ship across the US, DEA says
Cannabis commercial and home growers alike may be able to get their seeds from all over the country now, and not have to worry about breaking federal law. Before, because of federal illegality, cannabis seeds have been restricted to the state in which they were produced, so a strain bred and grown in one state, legally, could not go beyond that state’s boundaries.
A recent legal clarification by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could mean that the seeds of cannabis strains popular in one part of the country could legally be shipped to another part of the country, because the DEA considers all forms of cannabis seeds to be federally legal hemp.
That means strains popular in mature markets like Washington, Oregon, and California could make their way to legal markets on the East Coast in Massachusetts and Maine, and soon-to-open markets like New Jersey and New York.
Marijuana Moment reporter Kyle Jaeger recently unearthed a letter from DEA officials that clarifies the definition of cannabis seeds, clones, and tissue cultures, which could open up a whole range of possibilities for cannabis growers, and could spread a diversity of strains across legal markets all over the country, opening up the gene pool and leading to new trends and tastes in weed.
Are weed seeds illegal?
Right now, cannabis strains are somewhat isolated in the regions they are bred and created, as they can’t be transported beyond state lines. For example, even though recreational weed is legal at the state level in both California and Oregon, moving a plant from one of those states to the other is illegal at the federal level. This forces cannabis growers and breeders to operate within the confines of a specific state.
That’s not to say that a strain bred in California won’t end up in Oregon—it happens all the time, but it is technically illegal, according to federal law.
Many cannabis breeders and seed banks sell seeds throughout the US, but they operate in a legal gray area. Typically, seed producers say their seeds are sold for “novelty” or “souvenir” purposes, giving them a loophole to skirt the law.
If cannabis seeds are found in the mail, they could be seized and the sender or receiver arrested, however, the fact of the matter is that seeds are very difficult to detect. Cannabis seeds are usually less than a ¼” in diameter and don’t smell like weed. A packet of 10 seeds is about the size of four quarters stacked.
But all that might have changed in 2018 without anyone knowing.
Defining ‘source’ vs. ‘material’
In 2018, Congress passed a farm bill that legalized hemp in the US. It defined “hemp” as any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. This allows hemp to be grown and used for industrial purposes—for creating textiles and materials. The 2018 bill also opened up hemp production for the creation of cannabinoids other than delta-9 THC, such as CBD, delta-8, and others.
Because CBD and delta-8 products are usually extracted from hemp plants, that is, cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC, they can be found in states that don’t have legal, recreational cannabis.
In November, Shane Pennington, counsel at Vicente Sederberg LLP in New York, wrote to DEA officials asking for clarification of the definition of a cannabis seed, clone, and tissue culture.
Cannabis seeds have always been deemed illegal because they come from plants that are high in THC. The source of the seeds is above 0.3% THC, and therefore anything that comes from those plants, such as seeds, has also been considered illegal cannabis.
Pennington argued that the source of the material doesn’t determine legality, but the material itself—meaning that because a cannabis seed itself contains less than 0.3% THC, it should be classified as hemp. If seeds are hemp, they are not a controlled substance—and are therefore federally legal.
“When it comes to determining whether a particular cannabis-related substance is federally legal ‘hemp’ or schedule I “marihuana,” it is the substance itself that matters—not its source,” Pennington wrote in a blog post.
Exotic Genetix Mike, founder of cannabis producer Exotic Genetix, said the DEA’s ruling “Is what we’ve always kind of practiced. [Seeds contain] less than 0.3% THC—they’re not a controlled substance.”
Mike welcomed the news: “It’s been clarified. Not just what we do is legal, but the money we make for doing it is also legal and not an illegal enterprise.”
What implications does this have for the weed industry?
If the DEA and federal government allow seeds to cross state lines, adults could grow and consume seeds and strains from all over the country in their own state. Certain strains would no longer be confined to a specific region, but could be enjoyed all across the nation.
“It’ll spark innovation, if people can bring it above ground, it can be regulated,” said Pennington in an interview with Leafly.
Regulation can bring more investment, a bigger industry, and more acceptance of the plant.
Breaking down transportation barriers across states would also open up the cannabis gene pool, giving breeders a bigger diversity of strains to work with. The number and diversity of new strains would likely increase, tapping into new consumer trends and flavors.
More strains also means that certain strains could be pinpointed and bred specifically for certain effects, whether for medical or recreational purposes.
But according to Pennington, perhaps the biggest implication is that “This sends a signal, clearly, to state legislators, state regulators, and to groups that lobby those folks… the federal law is more flexible than you assumed.”
States take their cue from the DEA when creating their own drug laws, so seeing the agency relax its stance on shipping cannabis genetics could cause states to follow suit, breaking down protectionist state laws.
This could also open up more accurate research on the plant, according to Pennington. For decades, cannabis research was limited to The University of Mississippi, which grew weed with a low potency, around 8% THC. However, most dispensaries sell cannabis with a THC percentage around 20%. Being able to ship genetics across the country would allow for more robust research into the plant, using strains that mirror what adults are actually buying in stores and consuming.
How binding is the DEA letter?
The DEA calls the letter an “official determination,” but whether or not they are legally bound to this position is a bit hazy.
“That to me sure seems like something the agency would either be bound to going forward or at least be very hesitant to deviate from in any kind of enforcement context,” said Pennington.
For now, the DEA’s acknowledgment that cannabis seeds, clones, and tissue cultures are not controlled substances isn’t law, but it is a big step forward in relaxing restrictions on cannabis.
Busted for buying seeds online ?
I’ve always wanted to buy seeds online but im a bit nervous regarding the penalty for getting caught by Customs, what exactly happens if they do find seeds in your packaging. Has anyone been to jail, got a ticket or had to appear in court over buying seeds online ? The last thing my wife and daughter needs is daddy going to jail or going to court and me losing my job over something like this. any insight is much appreciated.
Look here’s the deal you are one small peaon in a great war. Yes there is a chance of getting caught bring seeds into the us, but it about the same chance as crossing the street and getting hit by a car. First off get a prepaid card, second order from a reputable comany. i.e. attitude, don’t be a fool and opt out for the stealth shipping. pay for it. never ship seeds were you are growing big mistake. That’s what Johnny Law wants plants, not some measly old seeds. If you get a letter from the post office saying you got a package to come and get. fuck it chuck it up as a loss and move on. Lastly if seeds do get caught in customs, the only repercussion you have to fear is a pretty pink slip letting you know that the importation of cannabis seeds in the us is illegal. No law enforcement is going to was dollars to bust some trying to import seeds, now investigations of possible grow site is real, hence why we don’t send see to where we are growing. Follow these rules and you will have great harvests for many years. By the way been ordering from attitude seed bank for 3 years and have yet to have an order seized. A+++ service with freebies everytime you order from the, and me likes the freebies.
PS. DON’T TELL ANYONE YOPU ARE GROWING MARIJUANA, WIFE INCLUDED. YOU FORGOT YOUR WEDDING ANIVERSERY AND NOW SHE IS PISSED AT YOU THINGS GET WORSE, NOW SHE WANTS TO LEAVE NEXT THING YOU KNOW THE LAW AND CYS IS AT YOUR DOOR. TRUST NO ONE, IF YOU CAN’T KEEP A SECRET HOW CAN YOU EXPECT ANYONE ELSE TO. THE PEOPLE YOU THINK ARE SAFE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT. TRUST ME I HAVE BEEN THERE AS WELL AS MANY OTHER JUST TURN ON THE 5 O CLOCK NEWS.