The world is seeing a huge shift in terms of perceptions regarding cannabis. However, the UK has been largely left behind in this shift, and as such, cannabis is still very much illegal (with the exception of a few specific, high status legal cases).
As a result, growing cannabis – even on a small scale for personal use – is illegal too.
This differs from many other countries, where exceptions have been allowed for personal cannabis growing on a small scale. However, until the rules change, it is still going to be important for UK residents to stay on the right side of the law – and as such, knowing how to buy cannabis seeds legally in the UK could be of great benefit.
Current UK Cannabis Laws
The UK is falling behind many other countries globally – in particular, the United States of America and Canada – in terms of its cannabis legislation. As a result of this, ever since cannabis was made illegal in 1923, cannabis has remained an illegal drug.
In 1923, cannabis was added to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920. It was then further classified as a class B drug in 1971 with the arrival of the misuse of drugs act; though this means that cannabis is not considered one of the most dangerous drugs, it is still highly regulated as a class B drug, which is the same as amphetamines. This, ironically, is a far more lenient view of cannabis than in the US (where many states have taken action to legalize cannabis); indeed, in the USA, cannabis is actually classified as a drug akin to cocaine or heroin.
Penalties for Cannabis Use in the UK
When it comes to first offences, most UK residents will simply be given a warning. However, the penalties for cannabis use and possession after this first offence are usually more serious, with a penalty notice of disorder being handed out and a fine of up to £80. Third time offenders and later will then be liable for imprisonment and this will almost certainly end up on the individual’s criminal record, too. The maximum jail time for cannabis is 5 years, in line with the rules for other Class B drugs; however, it is important to note that there can be an unlimited cash fine as well as this.
With that being said, the punishment for cannabis use or possession in the UK is generally more lenient than the maximum jail time or fines, and most people – even repeat offenders – will get away with a much shorter jail time.
Factors that are taken into consideration when fine value or jail time is being decided on usually include the person’s level of involvement in the cannabis growing or selling operation, the scale of the cannabis growth/possession, and the criminal history of the individual.
Can Cannabis be Legally Purchased in the UK?
After all of this, you might be wondering – is it actually legal to purchase cannabis (or cannabis seeds) in the UK? Well, luckily, there is an option available to you.
A licence is obtainable from the Home Office to permit you to grow or obtain cannabis and this licence costs just shy of £600. It permits individuals to grow cannabis either for personal or industrial purposes (if a low THC strain is being grown that is intended for medicinal use) or for research purposes. However, recreational cannabis use or seed possession is still entirely illegal in the UK.
So, what does this mean for you? Well, we highly recommend that you take the legal route when it comes to cannabis; though the penalties might not be as strict for cannabis use in the UK as in some other countries, the UK police are very hot on cannabis. As such, there is a pretty good chance you’ll be found out if you try to grow cannabis illegally – indeed, it’s always better to stay on the right side of the law, and after all, there are provisions in place to make growing your own cannabis legal.
It is important to note here that cannabis seeds are actually legal in the UK, since cannabis seeds aren’t classified in quite the same way as cannabis itself. The seeds can be legally purchased for use as bird food, fish bait, or for a collection. However, it is illegal to consume the cannabis seeds and growing the seeds (without an appropriate licence) is also still illegal.
Where to Source Legal Cannabis Seeds in the UK?
If you want to source cannabis seeds legally in the UK, there are a few places where you can buy them. Some UK licensed shops are actually able to sell legal cannabis seeds, and it is also legal to buy cannabis seeds online and have them delivered by mail! As such, if you don’t want to go into a physical cannabis seed store or if there isn’t one local to you – they are still very niche shops – then there are plenty of cannabis seed banks that will ship seeds to the UK for bird seed, fish bait, or collector purposes.
The final takeaway here, then, is that owning a small number of cannabis seeds is legal in the UK – so long as you don’t germinate the seeds and they are used for fish bait, bird seed, or as part of a collection. However, it’s important to make sure that you source your seeds from a reputable seed bank; luckily, there are many that are either UK-based or that ship to the UK, so you won’t be stuck for choice!