With the decriminalization or legalization of cannabis sweeping across the world, it can be tentatively assumed that within the decade, the personal growing and consumption of cannabis will be commonplace in the Western World.
However, despite this wave of optimism, cannabis seed banks have continually operated in the grey market since the 1990s. Selling a product that is legal to exchange but illegal to use as intended. Despite the legal complexities and somewhat ironic legalities, cannabis seed banks have continued to grow in popularity, and every year it feels like there's more and more on the trading floor.
And for a good reason, if run and managed correctly, the cannabis seed business can be a lucrative market to be a part of and offer a vast number of benefits for both customers and the company alike.
In the cannabis seed business, there are three different entities. Some companies are hybrids (like Seedsman), while others are strictly one or the other:
A breeder is an individual or a group of individuals who crossbreed cannabis strains to create new ones and then sell off the regular, feminized or autoflower seeds. They can either work exclusively for seed banks or sell their genetics to multiple companies or a dispensary.
2) Seed companies
A seed company produces weed seeds. Most of these companies are based in Spain, the Netherlands, Canada or the USA in states like Colorado or California due to federal laws across state lines. They exclusively sell their own strains.
3) Seed resellers
A cannabis seed reseller sells products from various breeders or reputable seed banks or seed companies. They may also sell products like CBD oil.
Technically anyone can sell seeds, but not all vendors are legal. Internationally there aren't official laws on cannabis seed selling as they have multiple uses: oil production, clothing, and animal feed. However, each country will have its own unique regulations or marijuana laws that you'll need to check before taking your business any further.
Some countries may require you to have a licence, while others may prohibit the buying and selling of cannabis seeds entirely.
If you've been growing and breeding your own cannabis plants, you may wish to start selling your seeds. There isn't really such thing as a "licensed breeder." Some breeders have recreational or medical marijuana growers permit, but many either operate underground or get by using small numbers of plants at a time.
What people rely on isn't licensing; it's reputation. People trade with sellers who have a good name in the community. This is typical in the cannabis business no matter which angle you approach it from.
Breeding, however, isn't just producing seeds. It's about having the knowledge and understanding of genetics and superior breeding practices. Especially if you're planning to sell the seeds as an independent, you need to practice good breeding techniques and ethics.
In breeding, you choose traits of a cannabis plant from among a gene pool to improve the characteristics in each grow. Ideally, as large a pool as possible, meaning it's not very practical to select from within, say, a single ten pack of seeds - you have to go through many different plants to be sure what really represents a superior specimen of that lineage.
Developing your own cannabis strain or strains takes a considerable amount of time and effort. It would be best if you also had the facilities to continue to produce plants to meet customer demand.
This niche and difficult path into selling cannabis seeds are why many seedbanks are simply resellers of existing breeders. If you feel you could do a better job of marketing and delivering the seeds of existing breeders, your marijuana seedbank starts when you purchase cannabis seeds in bulk and begin reselling them on your website or physical store.
If you're reselling other breeders' strains, you'll face more competition from other seed banks as these strains will likely be available in different stores. As these strains will usually be available elsewhere, you might need to offer unique discounts or promotions – you might even need to operate at a loss in the beginning to attract new customers.
You also won't have much control over the quality of the seeds. That's why it's imperative you buy seeds wholesale from reputable breeders only.
Selling cannabis seeds online is like selling any product online. It's an eCommerce store which means your website has to display and categorise your products, manage inventory, and make payment and delivery options clear.
A CMS (content management system) like Magento, Shopify, or WordPress is commonly used to sell products online. You may need to work with a developer as the more extensive your store becomes, the more cumbersome maintaining it can be.
You also need to own your own web domain and finalise which payment methods are acceptable. Unlike a physical store, an online cannabis seedbank can accept forms of payment like bank transfers, credit cards, cash delivery, and Bitcoin.
Due to the high-risk nature of the marijuana seeds business, most of the easiest payment methods will not work very long. Depending on your location, seeking financial assistance and banking aid may also be complicated.
Once these are established, how you deliver the seeds is essential to consider. Are you selling only to your country, a select few countries, or internationally?
There are considerable costs involved with shipping, particularly with cannabis seeds, as you'll need to offer delivery insurance and stealth shipping options, given that cannabis seeds are often seized by customs agents. Particularly those with CBD or THC levels listed on the packaging.
If you plan on starting your own cannabis seed bank, you must emphasise that the germination of the seeds is illegal in most countries. You have to cover yourself legally with a disclaimer that the seeds for sale are not to be germinated and are sold as either a novelty item or a collectible to be used only when legally permitted.
Although the law may seem a little confusing, it's pretty straightforward. If you're selling cannabis seeds, you cannot be seen to encourage the cultivation of those seeds. As long as you're sending the message that the seeds you're offering are only to be used legally, then you should be okay.
That being said, any cannabis seed bank should have a legal expert examining all the products and content to identify any red flags.
There's a lot to consider when starting your own seed bank. However, don't let that intimidate you. Like any business, your success depends on the time, effort, and passion you put in. The cannabis seed and cannabis product industry is growing (mind the pun), but the best time to get started is now.
Once you're ready to start purchasing seeds, Tiger One offers a massive range of bulk, high quality seeds from some of the world's best breeders.
Get in touch today to create an account and take the first step in beginning your very own cannabis seed bank.