This blog post is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice.
In Canada, marijuana remains a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act and possessing and trafficking cannabis for non-medical purposes is illegal. However, Canada is experiencing a growing tolerance for our miracle plant, especially under the administration of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau who promised to legalize marijuana during his campaign. Despite this alluring possibility, given the broader recreational illegality of marijuana, it is important for both buyers and sellers to familiarize themselves with Canada’s current cannabis laws and in particular the status of seeds.
Current state of law on cannabis seeds
As cannabis is legal for medical purposes only, the cultivation of seeds may only ever be permissible when used to grow plants for medicinal purposes. Canada currently houses various seed banks that exist (ostensibly) for the sole purpose of selling seeds for medical use. Additionally, given the adherence to certain restrictions, seeds can be purchased from online seed banks and shipped to various locations throughout the country. This is typically done discreetly to reduce the hostile intrusion of law enforcement and the possibility of being charged with trafficking.
Precautions when buying and possessing cannabis seeds
Recall that marijuana use, possession, and growth is illegal in Canada in the context of recreational use. Cannabis seeds, which are typically considered collector items or souvenirs in other countries, may not necessarily be viewed with such neutrality by Canadian authorities. They can only be purchased for medical use. Individuals who purchase seeds with the intent to grow and/or traffic may be arrested and subject to hefty fines. Please be sure that you can demonstrate that you are indeed purchasing the seeds to relieve your doctor verified ailment!
Precautions when selling cannabis seeds
When selling seeds, it is important for business owners to communicate to consumers that the germination, trafficking, and/or public use of such products are illegal, and that medical use is the only legal and appropriate use for such products. Business owners would be wise to warn customers, in an official capacity, that questions or inquiries related to the germination or growth of cannabis seeds for the purpose of large-scale production will lead to a refusal to sell.
Legalizing & regulating marijuana = less money to organized crime, and harder access for kids. #TLMEP
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 12, 2015
In summary, marijuana legislation in Canada is perhaps slightly less strict than other progressive countries (given its medicinal cannabis carve out). Still, while purchasing seeds may not trigger the same suspicion and even consequences as buying fully bloomed marijuana, its sale for commercial use is prohibited. The potential liability of buying cannabis seeds in Canada is contingent on the perceived intent of the seller or purchaser. Thus, if approached, it is important to make it clear to law enforcement officials that one’s cannabis seeds are being used for (1) medical purposes or (2) non-marijuana related purposes. The level of difficulty in doing so will of course vary from person to person.