This blog post is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice.
The legality of purchasing and selling cannabis seeds in Spain is restricted to personal use in private areas. Interestingly, however, marijuana regulation appears to be increasingly flexible, allowing for a surge in more liberal establishments like private cannabis social clubs. Nonetheless, the average person may not be aware of specific laws pertaining to cannabis seeds. Thus, it is important for both buyers and sellers to familiarize themselves with Spain’s current cannabis laws, particularly the status of seeds.
Current state of law on cannabis seeds
As a decentralized country, Spain is made up of autonomous regions that can define their own regulations related to cannabis. Generally, it is not strictly illegal (with heavy consequences) to possess and cultivate cannabis seeds in Spain. However, seeds must strictly be for personal use; growing seeds for the purpose of trafficking is illegal. Seeds can be purchased from storefronts or online seed banks to be shipped to an address in the country. In practice, although the law prohibits public cannabis use, people often engage in this activity and several head shops that sell seeds exist throughout Spain. It would not be unfair to suggest that marijuana “crimes” are a low priority for law enforcement officers (certainly when small amounts are involved) and thus, they typically overlook the public use of cannabis. Even so, officers are well aware that they may legally target you for this offense.
Precautions when buying and possessing cannabis seeds
Recall that marijuana possession and use is legal in Spain under the context of personal use. Cannabis seeds, which are typically considered collector items or souvenirs, fall under the same laws. How can law enforcement officials distinguish between personal use and the intent to traffic?
Officers may simply infer an intention to traffic from circumstantial evidence and impose punishments as they are defined in their laws. Harsh penalties, similar to those for public use and possession, come with planting and growing cannabis seeds in Spain with the explicit intent to sell. This includes fines to the tune of tens of thousands of Euros for the most severe cases (i.e. officials determine that commercial use is driving the growth). Additionally, minors who commit this offense may be enrolled in a rehabilitation program instead of paying a fine.
Precautions when selling cannabis seeds
Head shops in Spain must obtain legal authorization to sell cannabis seeds, and it is critical for shop owners to communicate to consumers that the germination, trafficking, and/or public use of such products are illegal. Moreover, it should be cautioned that cannabis seeds are legal for purposes independent from the cultivation of marijuana, such as souvenirs. Lastly, business owners need to warn customers that questions or inquiries related to the germination or growth of cannabis seeds will lead to a refusal to sell.
As noted, each autonomous region of Spain is governed by a distinct body of laws and it is therefore critical to consult the local penal code to learn more about that geographical set of restrictions. Ultimately, cannabis is illegal in the context of trafficking and public use – possession, consumption, and cultivation will likely not be penalized if it is for personal use. Similarly, there are no regulation differences between recreational and medical use. The potential liability of buying and/or selling cannabis seeds in Spain is contingent on the perceived intent of the seller or purchaser and the part of the country where the “offense” has taken place. Thus, if approached, it is best to communicate to law enforcement officials that one’s cannabis seeds are being used for non-marijuana related purposes. The level of difficulty in doing so will vary from person to person and the circumstances under which they were found to be in possession of the seeds.