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The laws in the UK in regards to cannabis flowers and seeds has 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.
UK cannabis laws, timeline
The laws in the UK in regards to cannabis have changed multiple times throughout history, below is a summary of the changes made 1928-2021:
1928 Cannabis was added to the dangerous drugs act 1920, making cannabis illegal.
1971 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 are all illegal. This legislation classified cannabis as a class B substance.
2001 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.
2001 Drug trails began in Lambeth, South London. These trails included police officers becoming lenient to small amount 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.
2002 There was discussion about David Blunkett potentially allowing cannabis to be legalised for medicinal use.
2004 Cannabis was reclassified as a class C substance; this allowed police officers to use their time to focus on higher priority crimes.
2007 Gordon Brown expressed his wishes to reclassify cannabis as a Class B substance as there was increasing studies into cannabis use and mental health issues; however the Advisory council on the misuse of drugs were against his decision.
2009 UK Government reclassified cannabis as a Class B substance under the misuse of drugs act 1971.
2015 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 of more serious crimes.
2018 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.
2019 NICE guidelines published a guideline on prescribing cannabis based medicines.
2021 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 to sell cannabis seeds.
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.
Where to purchase cannabis seeds in the UK
Any UK resident can legally purchase cannabis seeds of any strain from an online seed bank. Sticky seeds ships cannabis seeds throughout the UK, so check out the website and find the strain best suited to your needs.
When to Plant Cannabis Seeds outdoors in the UK
The grower may begin the process in March as it’s the start of spring time, although most of the UK may still be fairly cold outside it’s a good time to start germination inside. The grower would take into consideration how they will be growing the cannabis plants, where is most suitable to grow them and also the most suitable strain for the climate. The plants will generally take around a few weeks to grow.
Growers in slightly warmer climates such as Anglesey and the Isles of Scilly may be able to grow the plants outside.
During April the weather generally improves but the UK is still at risk to cold days and potential frost so most growers will continue to keep their plants inside, the grower may also move the plants into a green house or poly tunnel during April, depending on the weather.
West midland and Scottish growers would generally still have their plants inside due to the colder climate, however growers in the Southeast and South west should have moved their plants outside by this time but should be mindful of rising temperatures. Plants should be watered accordingly, if there is heavy rains plants should be covered and in warmer areas plants should be kept well hydrated but be sure not to overwater.
During June the weather generally improves, growers should be sure to water their plants morning and evening for best outcomes.
July in the UK can be very warm and the days become longer so growers must take the increased temperatures into consideration, additional watering may be required.
By August the plants require higher levels of phosphorus and potassium to ensure the best yield.
During September the temperature will begin to drop but the plants should be reaching maturity. Plants should be flushed with water two weeks before harvesting. South and North West regions will generally have rain during this month which should be enough to keep the plants hydrated; however Northern Ireland growers many need to water the plants manually.
October can bring cold weather and even frost; growers should be vigilant and act accordingly with the weather. The plants should be ready to harvest by this time.
Potential problems for UK Plants
Mould (Bud Rot) and pests could all be a noisance for cannabis plants grown outside in the UK. Read our Plant Problems page for more information
Overall the UK has become more lenient to cannabis use and to individuals growing small amount for personal use, it’s important to remember that although it’s legal to poses and sell cannabis seeds that it is still illegal to grow and sell cannabis in the UK. If considering germinating seeds please do remember that it is still illegal to grow cannabis in the UK.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.