Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie recently wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice seeking clarification of the legal status of cannabis seed in the UK. Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing MSP issued the following written response, a clear and strong statement that the sale of cannabis seed is fully legal, and that the UK Government has no plans to prohibit or restrict it:
"The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 refers to cannabis and cannabis resin as controlled drugs, but not cannabis seeds because they do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
"Therefore the sale and possession of cannabis seeds is legal in the UK. Indeed, they are legitimately used for commercial cultivation of hemp (under Home Office licence), in the food industry (cooking oils, confectionary and speciality breads), the pet food industry (bird seeds, ground bait for anglers) and the cosmetic industry (including the Body Shop range of hemp cosmetics).
"I have been advised by officials in the UK Government that where illegal commercial cultivation of cannabis has been uncovered, the female plant cutting is being used, and there is no evidence of seeds being used for cannabis cultivation.
"For that reason, and the fact that blanket prohibition of drug paraphernalia and cannabis seeds would have an adverse impact on the wide range of legitimate uses of these items, the UK Government is of the view that a legislative option to deal with the problem would be premature at this stage."