Ultimate Guide to Growing Cannabis Outdoors in the UK
Growing cannabis in the UK, whether the cultivator does so inside their home or outdoors, is currently illegal and carries a range of different penalties from fines to time in prison. We provide this article purely for the preservation of knowledge in case the laws change once again and allow UK residents to grow their own cannabis. Below in this article, you will find a broad range of information from previous and current UK laws, the best strains to grow outside in the UK, when to plant cannabis outdoors in the UK, and potential problems that may arise when cultivating in the great outdoors!
UK cannabis laws, timeline
The laws in the UK in regards to cannabis flowers and seeds have varied throughout history, if you are a UK resident or have plans to visit the UK and are interested in cannabis then this article should be of use to you. We will look into how the law has changed over time in the UK and how the police have taken a different approach to cannabis users and personal growers. There is also some information on how growers achieve the best yields with the strains most suitable to the region. Below is a summary of the changes made 1928-2021:
Cannabis was added to the dangerous drugs act 1920, making cannabis illegal.
Misuse of drugs act 1971 was created by UK parliament, it is the main law to classify and control drugs that are potentially dangerous when used. This act states that possession of a controlled drug, intent to supply a controlled drug, and allowing your premises to be used for producing a controlled drug is all illegal. This legislation classified cannabis as a class B substance.
A study was carried out looking into drugs, titled ‘The Government’s Drugs Policy: Is it working?’ The study was carried out by the Commons home affairs select committee, the outcomes called for education and minimising the potential risks to drug use, over criminal convictions.
Drug trials began in Lambeth, South London. These trials included police officers becoming lenient to small amounts of cannabis possession and providing individuals with verbal cannabis warnings and confiscating the cannabis instead of making arrests. Record of the verbal warning would be kept for police records only and would not appear on a DBS check.
There was a discussion about David Blunkett potentially allowing cannabis to be legalised for medicinal use.
Cannabis was reclassified as a class C substance; this allowed police officers to use their time to focus on higher priority crimes.
Gordon Brown expressed his wishes to reclassify cannabis as a Class B substance as there were increasing studies into cannabis use and mental health issues; however, the Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs was against his decision.
UK Government reclassified cannabis as a Class B substance under the misuse of drugs act 1971.
County Durham police stated that they would be taking a new approach to cannabis use; they would no longer be targeting individuals that were growing small amounts of cannabis for personal use, unless the individual was very obvious with what they were doing. Derbyshire, Dorset, and Surrey police also adhered to this; this was a result of police budget cuts. This also allowed police to focus on more serious crimes.
Jeremy hunt supports the legalisation of medicinal cannabis use in the UK and Sajid Javid announced that medicinal cannabis use would be legalised in the UK for exceptional medical conditions.
NICE guidelines published a guideline on prescribing cannabis-based medicines.
Cannabis is still a class B substance and licenced specialist doctors can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Is it legal to possess cannabis seeds in the UK
The short answer is yes, it is legal for a UK resident to possess cannabis seeds of all strains, it’s legal for UK residents to buy, trade, and sell cannabis seeds. There is no limit to how many seeds a person can own. Cannabis seeds are only legal when sold as collectable items without any intention of them being grown.
Is it legal to grow cannabis seeds in the UK
It’s currently illegal to grow cannabis in the UK, however as mentioned previously some UK police are becoming more lenient to individuals that grow small amounts of cannabis for personal use, however, the police will take action if they feel an individual is being very obvious about their cannabis plants. Currently, County Durham, Derbyshire, and Surrey police have all adopted this attitude towards small personal cannabis plants. But the fact remains that growing cannabis is illegal and will result in a criminal record, potential fines, and even prison time in certain cases.
Where to purchase cannabis seeds in the UK
Any UK resident can legally purchase cannabis seeds of any strain from an online seed bank such as ours. Sticky Seeds ships cannabis seeds throughout the UK on a daily basis, so check out our cannabis seeds for sale and enjoy some of the lowest prices online with next day delivery!
When to Plant Cannabis Seeds outdoors in the UK
March is typically the time of the year when growers would locate the most desirable area for the plants to grow, this could be a private plot of land or greenhouse. This time is generally used to prepare the soil or greenhouse. Soil should be cleared of any other plants or weeds that may be in the way and either compost or well-rotted manure can be added. If a greenhouse is required this would be the time for the grower to ensure its thoroughly cleaned out. Growers that live in the warmer parts of the UK would usually begin the germination process outside in March if the weather permits, growers in milder areas could also begin the germination process inside using grow lamps. This would give the grower a head start in the growing process by getting the seeds prepared before the warmer weather arrives.
April in the UK can begin to warm up slightly and growers may be tempted to plant seedlings outside but this is risky as in some parts of the UK can still experience fluctuations in temperatures which can kill seedlings. Seedlings may be kept in greenhouses during April but the grower should be vigilant and mindful of changes in the weather.
May is typically the month where growers would put their plants outside, by this time coastal areas in the UK will be experiencing warmer weather so this is the time to move the plants outside, plants can be put directly into the ground or kept potted. If plants are planted into the ground they will most likely grow larger due to unlimited space, however, plants can be kept potted but will only be able to grow to the size the pot allows.
June is the time of year when the weather becomes warmer, Scottish growers should be mindful as there is still a risk of colder temperatures. Plants should begin to thrive due to the sunshine, growers should ensure the plants are sufficiently watered.
July is mostly very warm and sunny which is ideal for cannabis plants, again ensure the plants are sufficiently watered and do not dry out too much. Growers using polytunnels or greenhouses should be vigilant as the warmer weather will be heightened inside these which can cause the plants to dry out faster, increase watering accordingly. As the plants grow larger growers should be monitoring for signs of pests and nutrient deficiencies, if there are signs of these issues the grower would treat the issue accordingly. Plants are vulnerable to mold as the warmer weather means heightened humidity, growers can minimise the risk of this by ensuring the strain they select is mold resistant and also that the seeds purchased are brought from a reputable seller to ensure they are high quality.
In August the temperature and sunlight begin to slightly decrease. Growers that have planted auto-flowering strains will be ready to harvest. Auto-flowering strains are well suited to the UK climate because they make the most of the warm sunny weather and are ready to harvest before the weather becomes colder and there is a chance of frost.
September sees plants continuing to grow steadily with the buds starting to become fuller. The weather generally becomes colder, the weather will dictate the outcomes of the plants this month, If the UK experiences particularly poor weather during this month it can cause plants to perish. Southern growers may find that their plants are ready to harvest at this time, whereas Northern growers will most likely have to allow plants a few more weeks, this can be risky as the weather will become colder and wetter which would see plants fail.
October generally marks the end of the growing season and plants should be ready to harvest. UK growers must take this into consideration when selecting strains because poor weather will cause any late blooming strains to perish. The colder, wetter weather also encourages rot and mold. Scottish growers will also be at risk of frost during this month, Northern growers should take this into consideration when selecting seeds, auto-flowering strains would be more suitable to ensure plants are ready to harvest before the poor weather arrives.
Best outdoor strains for the UK
We are all aware that the weather in the UK isn’t always ideal, especially when it comes to growing cannabis. Some areas such as Cornwall and London are more fortunate and experience warmer weather for longer which is more ideal regards to growing cannabis outdoors. Places like Scotland will find it trickier to pull off a successful crop, but it can still be done with the right strain.
Read our short guide on the best outdoor cannabis strains for the UK to find out what the most ideal strains are for a successful outdoor crop!
Potential problems for UK Plants
There are fewer pests to worry about than other countries with hotter climates, but there are still some to look out for such as caterpillars. Mould (Bud Rot) and other pests could all be a nuisance for cannabis plants grown outside in the UK. Read our cannabis plant problems page for more information on how to prevent and eradicate any plant problems one could face.
Overall the UK has become more lenient to cannabis use and to individuals growing small amounts for personal use, it’s important to remember that although it’s legal to possess and sell cannabis seeds that it is still illegal to grow and sell cannabis in the UK.
Cannabis can be successfully grown outside in the UK, however, there are challenges to overcome to do so. Please also be aware that growing cannabis is still illegal in the UK.
Please also be aware that this article has been written for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice under any circumstances, Sticky seeds is not recommending or promoting cannabis cultivation.