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is it illegal to buy marijuana seeds in massachusetts

“Find a store where they’re willing to mentor you and excited to help you,” Reisman advises. “Don’t be embarrassed … everyone’s a beginner once.”

So you want to grow your own marijuana? Here’s what to know.

If you want to grow good weed, you’ll have to work for it.

Maybe it’s the convenience of having it in the house, or perhaps you like to do things yourself.

Whatever your reasons are, Massachusetts state laws allow you to take things into your own hands when it comes to marijuana — green thumb included.

People over the age of 21 can grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (with a maximum of 12 plants per household), so long as they are kept in a locked location and out of public view.

If you’re thinking about growing your own marijuana, there’s plenty to know — where to get seeds, the equipment needed, and, of course, what to keep in mind when tending to your crop.

“There is an up-front cost at first … and it takes time and effort,” Jon Napoli, owner of the Boston Gardner in Roxbury, told Boston.com. “If you want the reward at the end, you have to be patient and put in time every day.”

Here’s a crash course in what growing your own marijuana entails:

How do I get the seeds?

The quickest and perhaps the most direct way to get your hands on some seeds would be to receive them from someone who already has their own grow setup. (Legally, a person can give up to an ounce in seeds, similar to the law surrounding gifting harvested marijuana. You can also have up to 10 ounces of marijuana in your home, although any amount over an ounce must be locked up.)

But if you don’t have that option, you may be able to find some elsewhere.

State regulations allow for licensed retailers to sell seeds, but it’s not clear at this point in time if dispensaries will have those in stock.

Many people purchase seeds online, although it is important to note that under federal law, both possessing marijuana (seeds included) and mailing it across state lines remains illegal.

Online shopping can also be a bit risky, according to Will Ried, manager of Rootdown Hydroponics Indoor Garden Center in Medford, who cautions that if you’re getting seeds from a random seller, you may not be getting your money’s worth.

Overall, seed prices vary. A look at a few online sellers showed prices between $20 and $200, depending on the strain and how many seeds you want (how many are in a single pack also varies between retailers).

What are the basics?

Seeds

Traditional cannabis plants are either male or female.

If you purchase regular seeds, each seed therefore has a 50-50 chance of growing into either one. Male plants are helpful if you’re looking to produce more seeds, but female plants, which have bigger flowers with higher cannabinoid levels, are the ones you’ll want to harvest, according to Matt Reisman, owner of Gardin Hydroponics & Soil in Braintree.

It can make a packet of regular seeds a real challenge — and a real gamble.

For beginners, Reisman recommends growing from feminized seeds — seeds that, in short, are made to not create any male plants, according to the marijuana information website Leafly.com.

Temperature and lighting

Generally speaking, marijuana plants require about 80 degrees during the day and around 50 degrees at night, Reisman said.

Eighteen hours of light is needed for traditional cannabis seeds to grow in the vegetative cycle. To flower, the plants should have an even 12-hour split between red-orange light and darkness, he said.

How long does it take to grow?

The growing process varies in length, but it usually takes at least four-and-a-half months for a small grow, Reisman said.

However, auto-flowering plants — which stem from a different strain, according to Leafly — require only 70 to 75 days to grow and flower and do not need any changes in their lighting period, said Dan Ruta, manager of Gardin Hydroponics & Soil.

The tradeoff for the faster process though is that these small plants produce less to harvest, he said. (Auto-flowering seeds also have feminized versions, Reisman said.)

“You don’t want to give them too many changes at once because they’re just a very sensitive strain,” Ruta said.

How much marijuana can I harvest from one plant?

There’s no simple answer, according to Ruta.

Many factors play into what you end up with, including the strain, how long you let the plant vegetate, and what kind of nutrients you use.

“There’s a very long list of variables that apply to a yield,” Ruta said.

What is certain, however, is that you’ll have to re-seed every year, he said. Cannabis is not a perennial plant.

What do I need to have?

Equipment can be costly — depending on what you plan to do.

Ried advises beginners to start small. While the law allows for up to 12 plants in a home (six per person), it doesn’t mean you should go for the limit, he said.

“Especially if it’s your first time, I would recommend two or three (plants) really at the most, four if you have the room for it, just because they can quickly spiral and it’s … a lot easier to handle issues with three plants rather than 12 plants,” he said. “So starting small and being able to scale your grow is kind of a good place to start.”

For indoors

An indoor setup essentially means replicating outdoor conditions in a controlled environment — one where a quality light is your best friend and most important component.

“The number one thing is if you have a bad light, it’s just not going to come out great,” Reisman said.

High-wattage lights can be pretty inexpensive on websites like Amazon, and Reisman cautions potential buyers that the wattage advertised isn’t always what you get.

He recommends a ceramic metal halide lamp for beginners — a good quality “high intensity discharge,” or HID, light that’s very energy efficient and used for growing the plant.

For the flowering stage, a red-orange light is needed, so a high pressure sodium lamp, another kind of HID light, is handy, according to Leafly.

Other lighting options include fluorescent lights — while inexpensive, they are less efficient — and LED lights, which can be costly, the website says.

A small tent — one that’s 2-by-4, 3-by-3, or 4-by-4 feet — is also key to both maintaining the right conditions and keeping the marijuana odor from intruding into the rest of your home, according to Ried. Leafly also recommends placing your setup in a spot with easy access to fresh air that’s also cool and dry.

A fan is must for air circulation. A carbon filter also helps remove that well-known smell from escaping the tent, Reisman said.

Depending on how much you’re willing to splurge, a reverse osmosis system can give you purified water for your plants, although spring water also does the trick if you’re a new hobbyist looking to save some cash, according to Reisman, who said simple nutrient programs — versus a multi-bottle nutrient system — can also provide for a good grow for beginners. Ried said growers can go either way on synthetic or organic nutrients regardless if the grow is indoors or outside.

For a more advanced setup, a dehumidifier and an air conditioner can prove useful, depending on the kind of environment you are looking to create, according to Napoli, who said a strain like indica yields a shorter plant more suitable to a small space.

“As far as just like specialty equipment, that really becomes a thing if you’re getting into hydroponics. … You can get certain controllers and timers and stuff like that that will regulate a lot of your fans or your filters,” Ried said. “There’s nothing super specialty I would say you need other than the lighting.”

Altogether, a simple indoor rig could set you back a few hundred dollars, the experts say.

For outdoors

A small, outdoor grow doesn’t have to be a complex setup, according to Reisman.

But keep in mind that the law requires plants be in a locked area, so that means either installing a greenhouse or putting the plants in a fenced-in area under lock and key, Ruta said. The other legal requirement that plants must be kept out of public view means a tall fence (think at least 6 feet, Ruta said) is also a must have.

Organic nutrients that you can find at most garden stores can make for a good outdoor grow, but, naturally, how well your plants fare in the great outdoors also depends on other factors, Reisman said.

Mother Nature in New England, unlike the warmer weather states like California, does not always prov >here’s no perfect way to do this.”)

Lots of rain and humidity is problematic and could leave plants moldy and prone to fungus. An outside grow would require keeping plants particularly clean and checking for pests.

“You want as much sun as possible, and, unfortunately in New England, you start losing that sun in the fall and that’s when your plants are starting to flower,” Napoli said.

If you’re looking for a strain to plant outdoors, Napoli said sativas can grow pretty big, which makes them appropriate when you have the space outside. A greenhouse works best though, since the flowering period for sativa may be a bit too long for the Massachusetts climate, he said.

Is it difficult?

“It’s definitely something that you have to pay attention to and take care of and spend time every day on,” Napoli said.

While there’s a common perception that marijuana is a weed — meaning it’ll simply just grow — it doesn’t mean you’ll get a quality harvest, according to Reisman.

“Find a store where they’re willing to mentor you and excited to help you,” Reisman advises. “Don’t be embarrassed … everyone’s a beginner once.”

Bumps in the road may come, but don’t get discouraged, Ried said.

“I would say if you’re afraid you’re going to kill it, you’re going to miswater (sic) it, you’re going to mishandle it, they’re pretty resilient,” he said. “Don’t let that scare you.”

Is it illegal to buy marijuana seeds in massachusetts
Germany presents a complicated stance on cannabis seeds. Seeds do not fall under the German Narcotics Act, which therefore makes them legal to buy. However, Germany has prohibited the sale of cannabis seeds countrywide, being the only European nation to have done so.

Where Is It Legal To Buy Cannabis Seeds?

If the legal landscape of cannabis wasn’t confusing enough, cannabis seeds operate in a separate space. Generally considered legal, it’s often the act of germination that attracts the attention of law enforcement. We break down major European countries and their stance on cannabis seed legality.

This blog post is for informational purposes only. The contents of this post should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Cannabis seed legality is an obscure topic. With each country taking its own approach to cannabis legality, many buyers assume the seeds will be treated in the same vein. It is, however, the process of germination that attracts the eyes of the law when it comes to purchasing cannabis seeds. Therefore, in theory, it is perfectly legal to buy cannabis seeds as long as it cannot be proven that you intend to grow cannabis from them, either privately or commercially.

THE BASIC PREMISE OF SEED LEGALITY

The legislation is rapidly changing, and with it is the cannabis landscape. However, as we have already alluded to, cannabis seeds in principle are not illegal across Europe. It is actually possible to buy seeds from other countries and have them shipped to your home address.

As a direct result, many European countries have seen a distinct increase in the opening of seed shops. Since it is down to law enforcement to prove the purchase of seeds is with the intent to cultivate cannabis, many store owners operate on a thin line between legal and illegal activity.

Cannabis seeds are rich in proteins and amino acids, making them a great healthy snack. They are also commonly used in fishing bait, additives, luxury bird food, or as souvenirs or collector’s items.

EVERY COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT

While this broad approach applies to Europe, when a product enters a specific country, it is then subject to that country’s laws. Therefore, it is possible to buy seeds prohibited in your own country, but legal in another.

To make matters even more confusing, in 1962, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs formed the framework for legislation worldwide. 180 member states signed the international treaty, which deems cannabis an illegal substance. Cannabis seeds, however, are not. In seed form, they do not possess any narcotic components. International law does take precedence over national law, meaning cannabis seeds are technically legal in all of the member states.

UNITED KINGDOM

The act of buying, selling, or trading cannabis seeds is legal in the UK, whether you are receiving them domestically or from other European countries. The biggest legal issue surrounds the germination of cannabis seeds. This is illegal, and anyone found doing so will be subject to prosecution. It is important that the seeds are purchased from reputable vendors and that no discussion is had about germination. This could be construed as buying “with intent”, which would make the activity illegal.

GERMANY

Germany presents a complicated stance on cannabis seeds. Seeds do not fall under the German Narcotics Act, which therefore makes them legal to buy. However, Germany has prohibited the sale of cannabis seeds countrywide, being the only European nation to have done so.

Where does that leave consumers interested in cannabis seeds? Germany is still subject to the principle of free movement of goods in the EU, so having cannabis seeds shipped to Germany is permitted. You will not be subject to criminal repercussions if you order cannabis seeds online. Cannabis is legal by exception for users who have been granted a prescription by a medical professional.

SPAIN

Taking a similar approach to the UK, Spain has a slightly more lenient stance regarding cannabis and its seeds. It is legal to buy and sell cannabis seeds as long as it is for personal use in private areas. As such, it’s possible to germinate cannabis seeds for personal use without falling foul of the law, unless it can be proved that you intend to traffic.

Spain is unique in that it operates as a series of decentralised regions, each one capable of making their own regulations in regards to cannabis. Generally, the same approach can be applied to Spain as a whole. While seed shops will need legal authorisation to sell cannabis seeds, their private use remains legal.

ITALY

Cannabis seeds are viewed as cultivation equipment, which makes acquiring them easy thanks to numerous grow shops. Other than that, any cannabis-related activity is still prohibited, making germination an illegal act. Even though there are reports of users being let off when caught with a small amount for personal use, cannabis is still illegal.

NETHERLANDS

Considered by many to be the motherland of cannabis in Europe, it’s no surprise that cannabis seeds and CBD are legal to purchase. However, what may come as a surprise is that cannabis is still illegal in the Netherlands. It is merely allowed under a “tolerance policy”. Growing cannabis is also a criminal act, although law enforcement tolerates a small number of plants grown for personal use.

FRANCE

France is unique in that cannabis, along with any other drug, may not be presented in a favourable light. No other European country has this type of legislation, and let us hope it stays that way. Surprisingly, cannabis seeds are legal as long as they are not used for growing. Consumption of weed, buying, or selling are also illegal and carry prison sentences and fines. If you live in France, you will have to order cannabis seeds from another European country.

OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

The above are but a small sample of European countries. We would always recommend reviewing your own nation’s stance on the legality of cannabis seeds and cannabis to ensure you do not attract the attention of law enforcement. As the buyer or owner of said seeds, you are liable for any fines or penalties that may accompany such attention. Generally speaking, the purchase of cannabis seeds as a collector’s item or for purposes other than growing is seen as legal.

USA AND SOUTH AMERICA

If you live in the USA, you are at the mercy of your own state’s specific legislation. Technically speaking, cannabis seeds are prohibited under federal law in every state. What complicates matters is that several states have now authorised marijuana for recreational use as well as medicinal use. If you do live in a state with legalized weed, rules surrounding the purchasing of seeds vary. As always, check the technicalities at a local level.

South American countries are a melting pot of legislation. Some, like Brazil, are halfway between legalization and total prohibition, while countries like Uruguay have legalized cannabis in a bid to halt illegal trafficking of the substance. As many Latin American nations are part of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, cannabis seeds in principle are legal. However, given the volatility of the situation surrounding cannabis legalization is this part of the world, reviewing your own country’s restrictions is a must.