Medical marijuana: State okays seed sales in way that kills seed companies
After months of confusion regarding the legality of seed sales at dispensaries, the Colorado cannabis community finally has an answer from the state. And though it doesn't technically ban seed sales, it's not exactly the one some plant breeders wanted.
Medical marijuana attorney Bob Hoban, who'd requested a clarification of the rules in March, recently received a letter from Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division chief Laura Harris. In her response, Harris okays seed sales but says state law requires seed production to be done by the dispensaries themselves. The MMED has since posted the response on its website; it's on view below. Hoban was unavailable for comment.
"The MMED finds no statutory or regulatory authority to prohibit an MMC licensee, or an MMC applicant currently authorized to sell medical marijuana...from selling medical marijuana 'seeds' that were cultivated in its commonly owned optional premises cultivation to registered patients and other licensees," Harris writes. "The MMED does believe that [the law] prohibits an MMC from selling medical marijuana seeds that are not grown upon its licensed premises."
That opinion essentially knocks out current seed companies that have been propagating plants in grows not attached to any dispensaries.
Ben Holmes, founder of Centennial Seeds, suspended his seed sales in February after learning that he was in legal limbo. He had hoped for a system that followed state agricultural regulations and allowed for more plant research: "If this wasn't a scary plant, this is how they would do it," he said at the time. "That's how they do it with corn or any other seeds."
Although upset by Harris's response to Hoban, Holmes says he wasn't expecting a good outcome -- in fact, he dissolved his company last week. Still, he points out that MMCs don't have the time or space to devote to seed production, adding that any plants used for seeds would technically be taking medicine away from patients.
Harris "basically pins the MMCs so that they can only sell seeds that they produce," he notes. "You have a business that is essentially seedless. Sinsemilla. To grow with seed is to sell more weight than they can benefit from. It also changes the output of the plant. To have them grow seed in their shop is ridiculous."
Here's Harris's letter to Hoban.