by Nebula Haze
FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, I AM NOT A LAWYER OR LEGAL EXPERT ON MARIJUANA SEED BANKS IN THE USA
I’m currently ordering seeds from Seed Supreme. I’ve been happy with my experiences with them so far (as of September 2021). They ship out of southern California and provide delivery tracking. Orders seem to arrive in the US in under 2 weeks for most states. They have a bulk seed page for commercial growers. Insider tip: they don’t list all their payment options on the front of the website – go to checkout and you’ll often see additional payment options.
Here is their list of American genetics they have developed and stabilized in-house. I’ve found their strains to be above-average when it comes to potency and sparkle. I like that they publish growing information about each strain in addition to the bud effects. I’ve never really seen that from a seed bank before. Whether you’re a home grower or a commercial grower, that can make a huge difference because it helps you properly plan your grow with plants that play well together.
Their Blueberry strain has top-shelf looks and smell with classic effects reminiscent of 90s buds but stronger. Easy to grow.
Their version of White Widow is something special. MUCH more potent than regular White Widow. The buds tested between 24-26% THC. Don’t plan to do anything else that day 🙂
Their Platinum Cookies tests at up to 28% THC and and produces buds with quintessentially “American” looks and smell. The mental and physical effects are captivating but may be too intense for most beginners.
Other notable strains
- Bruce Banner FAST is a good choice for commercial growers with high THC up to 30%, big yields, and a short flowering time.
- Afghan Hawaiian x Laos x Jamaican is a potent Sativa hybrid with great yields and uplifting unique mental effects
- Wedding Cake Autoflower is an autoflowering strain that produces photoperiod-quality buds in about 70 days from seed to harvest.
Now that that’s out of the way, continue on to the rest of the article…
Sirius and I have been ordering cannabis seeds online since 2010, and we maintain a list of the seed banks that we use the most. Most seed banks we’ve used and recommended are located in the U.K., Netherlands, or Spain. In fact, until recently, these 3 countries in Europe contained nearly all the big cannabis seed banks in the world. Weed isn’t legal to grow in those countries, but they have specific laws or loopholes that make it easier to run a seed bank.
Now that recreational use and home cultivation has been legalized for adults in Canada, seed banks are getting established there, too.
Yet isn’t cannabis cultivation legal in several U.S. states? Where are the American seed banks?
American-bred strains tend to be “high” on sparkle
There is a huge thriving cannabis market in parts of the U.S. and American breeders are developing world-famous cannabis strains. Where can you buy the genetics? What’s the best American seed bank? And why is it so hard to find current information about online seed banks in America?
The problem has to do with the American federal government and the current legal status of cannabis. Marijuana and derivatives (including seeds) are considered a Schedule 1 drug with essentially no accepted legal use. This makes it hard if not impossible for a seed bank to run in the U.S. the way they do in the U.K., the Netherlands, Spain, or Canada (which have legal loopholes or full-on legalization).
Where can you buy cannabis seeds in the United States?
American strains often come and go. I purchased seeds for the following buds last summer and harvested the plant 4 months later. When I tried to buy more seeds, the breeder and seed company had already disappeared. This isn’t unusual.
What’s the Problem with American Seed Sources?
- American Seed Banks Disappear – I order seeds every few months, yet when I’ve ordered from an American seed source, the company is often gone by the time I’m ready to order my next set of seeds. Although cannabis cultivation has been legalized in some states, the federal government (which considers cannabis and seeds a Schedule 1 drug) has jurisdiction over the mail. That means getting caught sending seeds through the mail comes with harsh legal penalties for the sellers. As a result, American seed companies regularly get spooked and shut down or just disappear without a trace or explanation. Enforcement against selling seeds is less strict in certain countries like the Netherlands, the U.K., and Spain. In fact, in some jurisdictions in those countries, the laws are surprisingly tolerant of seed banks. Similar exceptions and special rules have not been carved out in the United States. It’s due to lack of local regulation that many (if not most) of the longest-running seed banks are located in the Netherlands, the U.K., or Spain. Now that Canada has legalized growing for adults, seed banks are starting to get well-established there, too.
- Refuse to Accept Debit or Credit Cards – American seedbanks often only take Bitcoin, certified checks, money orders, Venmo, Cashapp, or cash. Unfortunately, those payment options leave you without recourse if the seeds don’t show up. It’s easy to get scammed when paying in cash. Why won’t American seed banks accept debit, credit, or bank drafts? One reason is cannabis companies lack access to banking in America (again due to the federal legal status). In fact, many cannabis operations and dispensaries are run almost completely in cash. This makes it difficult for them to take non-cash payments. The bigger the company, the harder it gets to fly under the radar. When an American seed bank offers something convenient like Paypal, credit card, or bank drafts, they’re shut down quickly once they get popular. Although European seed banks do occasionally lose payment options, there is usually an option for credit/debit card or bank drafts.
- Strain Quality is More Variable – While European seed companies have been competing for customers since the 1980s (and earlier), most American seed sources were only established in the last few years. As a result of fly-by-night breeders and little competition, many seeds ordered from American sources produce unreliable results. There are trustworthy American breeders, but they’re often listed right next to unknown and questionable breeders that sell crosses that were randomly slapped together. Yields, potency, and growth rates may be poor, even if you do everything right. There’s little curation of breeders and stabilized strains in American Seed Banks like with the established European seed sources. You have to do your own research to avoid bad breeders.
- American Genetics Are Available Overseas – European breeders have been steadily importing and stabilizing popular American strains. Many strains have been developed by trustworthy breeders with 100% American genetics, especially in the last few years. That means you can get American genetics from a more consistent and trustworthy source that takes non-cash payments.
Girl Scout Cookies is a popular American strain
Hand-picked American genetics available as stabilized strains from established seed banks that are available in Europe.
- Candyland by Garden of Green
- Dos Si Dos 33 by Barney’s Farm Seeds
- Ghost Train Haze #1 by Rare Dankness
- Gorilla Zkittlez by Barney’s Farm Seeds
- Lemongrass by Humboldt Seed Company
- Magic Melon by Humboldt Seed Company
- Mimosa EVO by Barney’s Farm Seeds
- Orange Sherbert by Barney’s Farm Seeds
- Peyote Gorilla by Seedsman
- Peyote Wifi by Seedsman
- Punch the Cake by The Plug
- Purple Punch by Barney’s Farm Seeds
- Star Killer by Rare Dankness (non-feminized)
- Sugar Mill by Cali Connection
- Wedding Cake by Lineage Genetics
- Wedding Gelato by Royal Queen Seeds
Breeders based in the United States that are available in Europe (Their strains are in high demand and often sold out, but they are restocked regularly so keep checking back)
- Dark Horse Genetics (California)
- Humboldt Seed Company (California)
- Humboldt Seed Organization (California)
- Norstar Genetics (California)
- Rare Dankness (Colorado)
European Seed Banks
European seed banks have some benefits over American seed banks:
- Cheaper – American genetics can get expensive. Strains from American breeders often cost a lot more than European strains of similar quality, even if they’re using the same genetics.
- Established European seed banks rarely disappear – Seed companies are well established in Europe, and are often located in countries that look the other way. That means European seed banks almost never close down, while seed banks in America regularly vanish. You never know if they got in trouble or just stopped selling seeds. If you happened to make an order right before a seed bank closes down, you may never get your seeds even if they were a legitimate company.
- Consistency – European breeders have been around a while and are specialists at consistency. When you buy seeds that claim the plant will stay short, smell a certain way, have a specific potency, etc, you almost always get what the breeder said. Yields and growth rates tend to be better overall. In America, you often order a pack of seeds and every single plant comes out totally different with variable quality.
Tangerine Dream has been described as a “citrus fruit fantasy”
Ok, I got it. But what are the advantages of ordering from an American seed bank?
American Seed Banks Have Advantages for U.S. residents:
- Much faster shipping – One of the main things American seed banks can offer to American growers is seeds show up fast. Since seeds don’t have to get imported or exported, they often appear in just a few days. When I order from Europe, seeds can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to arrive. When I order from US-based Seed Supreme, seeds usually arrive in under 2 weeks.
- Delivery tracking – Although many European banks offer delivery tracking, it isn’t very accurate or helpful for Americans since the package is originating in another country. An American seed bank will give you tracking with USPS, UPS, Fedex, etc that lets you more accurately see where seeds are and know which day to expect them.
- Sparkly, Smelly Genetics – Although European breeders are regularly incorporating popular American genetics in their new strains, the truth is that American breeders tend to select for different things. For example, in general, American breeders seem to focus on sparkle, overall bud appearance, and strong unique smells.
- Potency – American strains regularly produce buds with over 25% and some strains produce over 30% THC. Note: This isn’t always a good thing. At those levels, bud effects are often too intense for typical users (i.e. Platinum Cookies).
American laws are changing all the time, and it’s possible that banking will be legalized for state-legal cannabis companies, or the feds may reduce their restrictions on sending seeds through the mail. If that happens, we’ll see tons more American seed banks appear overnight.