Guest post by ICE Cannabis Seeds
As the law on legal highs enters a new phase of criticism for being overly confusing, with even MPs unclear on what it covers (The Guardian looks at ‘psychoactive’ inclusions), it’s important to be up to date on the legal side of cannabis seeds.
What does the law currently stipulate in the UK and other EU countries?
Cannabis seeds are legal to buy, possess and trade in the UK and in a number of European countries, listed here in full, including Spain, Germany and France. This means the public are legally entitled to purchase seeds online and a number of legitimate companies specialise in seed retail.
The important distinction is that the courts can get involved and prescribe a custodial sentence if the drug that the seeds produce is found in your possession, if you’re found to sell, produce or import it. In essence, the germination and cultivation of the cannabis seeds resulting drug is illegal.
As stipulated in online retail disclaimers, such as with ICE Cannabis Seeds, the seeds are only sold with the intention of collection and not growth or consumption, and only for people aged 18 and above.
It’s also in a retailer’s best interest to state that products are not FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) approved, which highlights the intention that they are not for humans to ingest or grow with this purpose in mind.
Sentencing and prosecution
Whilst medical use of cannabis can be prescribed by healthcare professionals in some US states, this doesn’t apply to the UK. Punishments can be strong for personal growth, especially when there’s evidence of commercial gain. Again, this applies to the bud that the seeds have a potential to grow.
For a first offense for possession, an individual can be given a cannabis warning which is recorded as a detected crime but does not result in a criminal record. After a cannabis warning, the next response from law enforcement would be a penalty notice for Disorder (PND), which is a fine of £80.00. If this isn’t paid or if possession is discovered a third time, this may result in an arrest.
A typical sentence of four to six months could be expected for growing weed in the UK and the defendant can expect stricter punishment based on the following factors:
- Operation size
- Production methods
- Minors are involved
- Previous convictions
Currently the guidelines for maximum sentences, which are rarely used, are as follows:
- Possession – 5 years
- Possession with intent to supply – 14 years
- Supply – 14 years
- Production – 14 years
- Cultivation of a cannabis plant – 14 years
In these instances, a fine can also apply.
Medicinal use in the UK
While activists campaign for the legalisation of cannabis for medical use, UK law does not recognise the drug as having any ‘therapeutic value’. Thus, prosecution remains the same for personal medical use and it’s an offense to possess and supply.
Should someone be suffering from a relevant medical issue, there is a cannabis-based product known as Sativex that be prescribed at a doctor’s own risk. This is usually used for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Details on the history of this element of the law, which was last updated in 2013, can be found in further detail on medicalmarijuana.co.uk where discussion of the law is encouraged.
Future debates on UK law
It has already been discussed amongst MPs that legalising cannabis and heavily taxing it would be a strong economic investment. Towards the end of last year, The Huffington Post quoted Labour MP Paul Flynn as saying that the UK was “left behind” other countries like the US, where medicinal cannabis is decriminalised.
His comments came days before parliament discussed the legalisation of cannabis in October 2015 after 20,000 people signed an online petition for it to be addressed by MPs. Whilst the debate didn’t result in the decriminalisation, it brought the main benefits to the forefront of future reconsiderations.
Traditionally, the Liberal Democrat party has had a pro-stance on cannabis. The party’s Health spokesman Norman Lamb has said: “With successful legal cannabis markets emerging in different parts of the world, the onus is now on the supporters of prohibition to explain why we shouldn’t do the same things here in the UK”.
Currently, you’re able to buy cannabis seeds for collection. Popular seeds include auto and feminised products which have been genetically modified and have produced a number of new types of seeds in recent years.
When purchasing, it’s important to ensure the retailer is adhering to UK law and that you’re also responsible for your actions after purchase.
As the discussion on cannabis law is likely to be re-addressed in the future, it’s important to stay informed to know that you’re not breaking the law unintentionally.