selling marijuana seeds
selling marijuana seeds

Is Opening a Cannabis Seed Store the Quickest Way to Riches in the Marijuana Industry?

The best pick-and-shovel play in the weed industry may be selling seeds to home and commercial growers!

Posted by:
Chiara C on Tuesday Oct 31, 2023

seed bank ideas for business

The intricate overlap between botany and legal regulations adds to the ambiguity surrounding the legal status of cannabis seeds used for cultivating THC-rich cannabis.


For example, on August 1st, Minnesota joined the growing list of states to legalize recreational cannabis use. Coincidentally, on the very same day, eager residents began flocking to Jim Cramond's store, Strains of the Earth, not just for cannabis but specifically for cannabis seeds.


People swarmed into his shop in Jordan, Minnesota, to purchase seeds in person, inundated his social media with inquiries about seed availability, and flooded his phone with calls from individuals interested in cultivating their cannabis plants.


Cramond noted that they witnessed a significant surge in people seeking and buying seeds that day, and the demand has remained constant. Before commencing seed sales, Cramond had anticipated that he would need to replenish his seed and cultivation equipment stock every three weeks. However, the reality has surpassed his expectations, with him placing orders for fresh supplies weekly.


In September, he introduced instructional classes to educate customers on nurturing their seeds into fully developed, bud-producing cannabis plants. Remarkably, even without extensive social media promotion, hundreds of individuals have attended his introductory tutorials.


In 2012, Colorado and Washington blazed the trail as the initial states to authorize the recreational use of cannabis. In the ten years since, nearly 20 jurisdictions, including three territories such as the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, have joined in this trend. Approximately half of the American population resides in states where recreational marijuana is permitted.


The broadening legalization and increasing societal embrace of this change have ignited a heightened interest among consumers in cultivating their cannabis plants at home. Nonetheless, most states' regulations restrict the number of plants residents can produce within their households.

The Rise of Home Cannabis Cultivation

For many aspiring home growers, the motivation ranges from saving money by producing their supply to the satisfaction of nurturing a plant from seed to flower in their gardens. In certain states, purchasing cannabis seeds is currently the only legal means for residents to obtain cannabis.


In Minnesota, for example, most recreational dispensaries won't be operational until 2025 due to the need for regulatory oversight. In the interim, some recreational stores have opened in tribal nations, which have sovereignty and can operate independently of the state.


Virginia finds itself in a unique situation: while the state legislature legalized recreational cannabis use and possession in 2021, they haven't yet established the regulatory framework for a commercial cannabis marketplace. To fill this gap, local horticulture companies and smoke shops have started selling or even giving away cannabis seeds, operating in this legal gray area.


Maryland took a similar route after legalizing recreational cannabis in July. The advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice organized a statewide seed giveaway, distributing 30,000 cannabis seeds for free, marking a positive step in cannabis policy reform.


In contrast, Minnesota's Strains of the Earth shop only recently started selling seeds, staying within clear regulatory boundaries. However, other retailers have been selling seeds for some time due to the ambiguous legal status of cannabis seeds. Online businesses like Seeds Here Now, run by James Bean, have seen significant sales growth, particularly during the first two years of the pandemic.


"People started growing at home," he explained. "When you're concerned about your access to medicine, you decide to cultivate your own." When Bean initially began selling seeds, he distributed them through Washington state dispensaries and promoted his availability on Craigslist. Today, Seeds Here Now proudly offers over 3,500 varieties of cannabis seeds.


However, Bean's journey has been fraught with challenges. On multiple occasions, his shipments were seized by the US Postal Service. This has resulted in costly reshipments and occasionally caused customers to back out due to concerns about legal repercussions. This is because cannabis seeds exist in a peculiar intersection of botany and the law.

Agricultural Laws and Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level, classified as having no medical utility and a high potential for abuse. However, opinions on the legal status of cannabis seeds vary.


In contrast to the rest of the cannabis plant, seeds typically contain minimal to no tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for inducing a euphoric high. This unusual characteristic places cannabis seeds uniquely positioned within the intricate realm of agricultural laws, making them similar to any other ordinary seed.


In 2018, a significant milestone was achieved with the enactment of the Farm Bill, which granted legal status to the cultivation of hemp, a particular variety of cannabis characterized by its low THC levels.


Hemp boasts a wide array of applications, from serving as an energy source (with its oil suitable for fuel) to agricultural use (as its seeds can produce milk and cheese) and in the manufacturing sector (with its fibers being ideal for textiles). A defining characteristic of hemp is its incapacity to elicit a psychoactive high, a distinction made by its THC content, which is mandated to remain below 0.3% when the plant is dry.


In a remarkable development, a letter from lawyer Shane Pennington, a specialist in federal cannabis regulation, sought clarification from the Drug Enforcement Agency regarding the status of cannabis seeds. He argued that the minimal THC content in cannabis seeds should be categorized under the definition of hemp.


Although some seeds may eventually grow into cannabis plants capable of producing a high, Pennington contended that they should be legally owned and sold in their seed form, much like hemp. To the astonishment of many in the industry, the agency concurred with the lawyer, resulting in the official "Pennington letter."


Receiving the letter from the Drug Enforcement Agency was a validation for Pennington. However, he cautioned that this area of law, being so new and untested, still carries the risk of trouble if authorities continue to enforce outdated or conflicting regulations. "People must exercise extreme caution," he emphasized.

Legal Ambiguity and Marketing Strategies

In a curious parallel, cannabis seeds can be likened to existing in a similarly ambiguous legal territory as magic mushroom spores. They lack significant controls individually because they contain minimal THC or psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in magic mushrooms.


Yet, since they have the potential to develop into controlled substances with careful cultivation, those who sell these items often resort to convoluted marketing strategies to safeguard their legal standing.


Spore sellers, for instance, frequently include disclaimers on their websites, asserting that their products are intended for use as microscope specimens. Bean, for his part, wants to sell seeds strictly as "souvenirs," humorously noting that they're just collector's items—don't get them wet or dirty, or they will explode.


This expansion and growth are the intended outcomes for individuals in regions where seed sales and home cultivation are already legalized.





What did you think?

ganja leaf left  Keep reading... click here  ganja leaft right

Please log-in or register to post a comment.

Leave a Comment: