Cannabis may seem like it's some top-secret, ethereal organism, but it grows from a seed like any other plant. For growers of all expertise levels, cannabis seeds are a vital resource for getting their crops started.
Big grows and little self-contained plant experiments alike all came from a seed — though maybe from a clone that came from a plant that came from a seed. The seeds themselves are part of cannabis lore and legend — as cultivation technology flourished, they became less prevalent in any given sack of weed.
Buying seeds is something you see advertised online, and while many growers all over the world use this method, California has easy access at places designed especially to get you the right starting materials, seed or clone.
Where to get quality seeds in California
A “seed bank” is that place, and it's a strategy that farmers have used for thousands of years. Even self-sowing plants might need a little help from the elements, and cannabis is no different. Protecting weed seeds from the environment (or from being eaten by animals, as many are viable food sources), is one of the foundations of agriculture. Today's seed banks are mostly shops versus community-operated storage.
The west coast allows for cultivation on a level that is largely owed to the plant's popularity in states like California, which has informed counterculture. Cannabis is also largely dependent on sunny climes. The seed banks in the Golden State concentrate in the cannabis-heavy Humboldt/Trinity county areas, like Grower's Choice Cannabis Seeds, but they are harder to find elsewhere.
At a seed bank, you can find starters of sometimes hundreds of cultivars, in seed or clone. These are the bones of any type of cultivation system and where you can find information about parentage via genetics. Sometimes the storied history of any given strain is also part of the sales pitch.
Some seed banks are collectively sourced, others are proprietary and involve the breeding products of just that company. In California, it is legal to have seeds stored, and any year now, interstate commerce in the cannabis sector could open up these seed banks to the rest of the country and perhaps, the world. Until then, buying seeds online isn't legal.
When that happens, the decades of intense breeding and cataloging by tireless cannabis pros will be available to everyone, not just those in the immediate area.
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps