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The law on cannabis seeds is always closely related to the law on cannabis itself for obvious reasons and so it’s best to start there! Cannabis itself is illegal in Australia but is allowed for medical reasons and patients who have a prescription are allowed to use cannabis grown and regulated by national regulators. For those without a medical prescription who are found with cannabis, Australia thankfully has a sensible approach to drug use and practices a policy of “reducing harm” rather than severe punishment. As Australia is a large place made of many states, the exact punishment will vary based on location but generally, it is not a severe one. Obviously those people dealing in extraordinary amounts of cannabis will face a different punishment than those who are simply recreational users. Now we’ve set the scene a little, we can move on to the Australian law’s approach to cannabis seeds.
What a good question, if I do say so myself! I’m sure a lot of people have seen various TV shows revolving around airport security and customs. One which specifically shows Australian Customs procedures is “Nothing to Declare”. It would be foolish to assume that Customs show their exact procedures and all of their tips and secrets on a TV show accessible to all but it does give a good general layout to how international packages are screened. This process is unsurprisingly very similar to many other nations and involves Xray scans, sniffer dogs and visual inspections. Once a package has been marked as suspicious it is opened by a customs officer and whatever is inside is usually tested in a machine which will show if the substance in the package matches with any known illegal drugs. If Customs procedures were “perfect” it would still not be possible to intercept and seize all “illegal” packages due to the sheer number and variety of them. It is simply not currently possible to scan every package from every country in a way that can guarantee a 100% success rate. Whilst scanning technology is improving and new scans are in use which can clearly show the difference between organic and inorganic materials they still rely on the human eye and as such are severely limited. For now then, whilst Australia customs do seize a large number of packages, those seized are likely the “lowest common denominator” – ie those packages which contain poorly packaged drugs or those packages with a large smell. As cannabis seeds do not have a strong smell and are not typically in the “most wanted” list of customs nasties they are likely to remain undetected.
What Would Happen if Cannabis Seeds are Stopped at Customs in Australia?
Border Control and Customs in Australia regularly find packages that contain prohibited items. Every day thousands of packages are checked, opened and “seized” and there are various standard procedures that are followed based on the type of goods seized, the amount seized and so on. In regards to cannabis seeds, it is very likely that the receiver of the package will be sent a letter informing them of the customs seizure and the reason for the seizure. The bottom of this letter will have a stern warning about how “future attempts to import prohibited items may result in personal penalties or criminal prosecution”. Now, whilst this is obviously not something to completely disregard, it is a boiler-plate form letter that is sent out to thousands of people every day. I have no doubt that there is some system that will record the name on the package, the address of the sender and receiver and log this in some database somewhere. Therefore I do not believe it would be a great idea for a person to have multiple instances where they have ordered goods under their name that have been seized, as individuals who have had 1 package seized are in the 100s of thousands or more but those which start racking up the numbers of seizures might be much smaller and therefore worth someone taking a look at. In summary then the vast majority of people in Australia who order cannabis seeds would suffer no more than receiving a stern letter warning them not to do it again. Having said that, there are mentions online of Australians who have had a search warrant issued with a mention of a previously seized package mentioned in it and we would be remiss not to mention this. It would seem likely that there were other factors contributing to the warrant outside of the package seizure.
It is wise to do a little research before ordering an item that may be classed as prohibited in your country and so we hope you’ll find answers to the most common questions we see below. Please note that this information is in no way legal advice and Seed city is in no way qualified to give legal advice.
The approach is quite similar to that of cannabis itself in that the seeds are only legal in the sense that they can be used by Australians with a medical license in order to grow their own medicine. There is rather a grey area in cannabis seeds that are purchased for collectible and souvenir uses and not intended for germination but as this as not yet been tested as far as we can see, it is unclear as to whether this would “hold up”. I suspect it is unlikely we will find out in a court of law unless a very large number of cannabis seeds are found, as the time and cost of taking people to court for possession of fairly small numbers of cannabis seeds would be impractical. This Wikipedia article has a more in-depth breakdown of various Australian Drug Laws affecting cannabis and is worth a read – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_Australia