This is an interesting topic in Canada. For the longest time Canadians haven’t had an issue with obtaining cannabis seeds. These seeds are often sold as souvenirs with a warning not to germinate them. The seed only counts as a plant once it has been germinated, in Canada. This distribution of seeds went undisturbed for a number of years until Marc Emery’s international cannabis seed selling case in 2005.
Since then, the medical marijuana system has adapted to allow at home cannabis production, but all starting material (seeds and clones) must come from a licensed producer (LP). Unfortunately this gives the LPs a financial incentive to restrict domestic/international seed sales. Rumor has it that the borders have gotten tighter and some seed packages have started to get stopped.
This is extremely disappointing as a medical patient. The diversity within the cannabis species it what allows it to have the wide range of medial effects, smells, appearance, growing requirements and subtle nuances we can’t currently quantify. If this continues, the medical and recreational market could be limited to the ~30 strains currently available to medical patients.
Within the cannabis community it’s has been suggested to start looking at genetics and collecting them now as it may be harder/impossible later on. This was hit home by Katy of Grow Op Hydroponics who said if there’s a strain you’ve been wanting to grow for awhile, get the genetics now so you can keep them in your back pocket, you never know what will happen with legalization.
As for sources for starting material, seeds are the easiest to access through Canadian and international websites. The selling of clones is very common in the cannabis community, but often requires meeting face to face. As you can imagine sending clones through the mail is a tough task, though we have heard of it being done domestically or internationally. If you are purchasing from an LP, seeds and clones are both available depending on where you purchase your starting material from. In recent years, clone shipping devices that include a dome, light, and moisture allow for them to be shipped quickly to the intended patient.
Purchasing your starting material from a licensed producer with a valid grow at home prescription is the only 100% legal way to get started. Looking outside the LPs will give diversity for genetics, but you have no guarantee they will arrive. We know of people who have lost genetics in the mail. Seed companies are infrequently at cannabis events and are a great way to get your genetics. At events often someone behind the table has grown it before and can provide more information about the breeder, etc. It’s also important to point out the seeds are there in front of you. The hard work/risk of ensuring the seeds safely arrive is done. There are also stores in and around Toronto that sell cannabis seeds including Home Grown Hydroponics and Sacred Seed. There are a number of different options for how to source your starting material, make sure you stay safe and best of luck with the grow!