Canadians who want to grow their own cannabis have been stuck in a catch-22: it was legal, but only if the plants or seeds came from legal sources — and there haven’t been any.
But slowly, that’s changing.
In December, pot buyers in Newfoundland and Labrador were Canada’s first to be able to buy live plants (they’re shipped, expensively, from Strathroy, Ont.)
And earlier in January, provincial sites in B.C. and Ontario started stocking a limited supply of seeds.
Both provinces are selling two indica varieties from Canopy Growth, in Smiths Falls, Ont.
“We got small batches out to a couple of provinces, but the intention is to roll it out with a little bit more supply behind it in the spring,” spokesperson Jordan Sinclair says.
Canopy has shipped about 500 four-seed packages to the Ontario Cannabis Store, all of which had sold out by late this week.
B.C. Cannabis Stores has had better luck keeping them consistently in stock than Ontario has.
The OCS is selling a four-pack for $60 and the BCCS for $55.99, which works out to about $14-15 per seed.
The price per seed is quite competitive with Canadian grey market sites, where feminized (guaranteed female) seeds are closer to $18, and can be as high as $30. (The grey-market selection, however, tends to be far better, at least so far.)
“They’re within a couple of bucks of what you can find in the grey market, and very well-aligned with what you would find for premium seeds in that same market,” Sinclair says.
Federal law sets a limit of 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) for possession in public. One seed counts as a gram of dried cannabis, so no site will allow you to buy more than seven packs (it would be seven and a half, but there are no half packs.)
However, there is also a four-plant-per-household limit, so unless you’re buying seeds to give away, there’s really no reason to buy so many. (Quebec and Manitoba ban home grows.)
Sinclair says Canopy doesn’t expect supplying home growers to be a large part of its business, but it’s sold seeds to medical patients for years, and this is an easy extension of the same concept.
Based on medical growers’ experience, Sinclair expects most home growers to grow their plants outdoors. So they don’t expect much in the way of winter demand.
“If you need to make the investment in growing indoors, you’re talking in some cases specialized tents, lights, soil, obviously the investment of time,” Sinclair says. “In some cases, you might need a ventilation system — these are big expenses, thousands of dollars.”