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How to start an online cannabis seed business

An Introduction to the Big Business of Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis seeds can produce widely different plants. And in anticipation of national legalization, the market is evolving quietly, but quickly.

Cannabis seeds are, obviously, integral to the weed industry. With so many growers around the world, they’re in higher demand than ever. As a result, a network of online and physical retailers has popped up to satisfy both legal and grey market needs.

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But increased demand and legalization are changing the seed business. How will the cannabis seeds market evolve with growing demand and more legalization efforts?

The 3 main typles of cannabis seeds.

There is a great deal of variety within cannabis seeds. Specifically, you can divide them into three main types:

Regular: These contain both male and female plants, meaning that half of the plants will not flower. This kind requires more light to begin flowering.

Autoflower: Autoflowering seeds begin flowering as soon as the plant reaches maturity.

Feminized: Seeds that only produce the flowering part of the cannabis plant i.e. the female part.

Aside from the type of seed, seeds differ genetically. This means that breeders have grown them into distinct stains that can produce a wide variety of effects. This is where the real value in cannabis seeds lies.

Why genetics matter.

Anyone who has ever consumed cannabis in any of its forms knows that strain matters. This goes beyond sativa vs. indica. Strains can be bred to produce a variety of effects and serve purposes that go way beyond flavor. For example:

High-CBD hemp seeds are ideal for creating potent cannabis oil.

Strains can be bred for pain management and other medical purposes.

Plants can be genetically altered for shorter, better yields.

Specific types of hemp create stronger, longer lasting fiber.

Not only is the ability to create products with distinct terpene flavor profile a great way to appeal to consumers, but the right genetics can produce vastly different effects with medical and economic advantages. And the more the medical and recreational markets grow, the more demanding consumers are of their weed products and the more competition there is when starting a cannabis dispensary or another type of business.

Who sells cannabis seeds.

Anyone can sell cannabis seeds but not all vendors are legal. International drug laws do not strictly regulate cannabis seeds because they have a variety of uses — animal feed, oil production, clothing material — but some countries are stricter about their importation than others.

Like the sale of growing equipment, cannabis seeds are adjacent to the weed industry but not strictly apart of it. This makes controlling or even studying the market difficult.

Different types of vendors.

According to one scientific paper published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there are three different components to this business:

1. Seed companies: Seed companies produce the seeds. The majority are based on the Netherlands or Spain due to their more lenient laws. There are around 122 large scale seed companies in Europe, according to the UN’s research.

2. Breeders: Breeder cross-breed strains to create new ones. They can work for seed companies or conduct their own experimentation.

3. Resellers: There are many more resellers than either of the above two categories. Resellers will often sell product from a variety of companies and can inhabit a legal grey area, catering to black market weed vendors as well.

Marijuana law remains hazy. Today, an increasing number of companies are patenting weed technology, seeds, and the hottest cannabis products. But whether those patents are enforceable, and where they are enforceable within the U.S., remains to be seen.

Plant breeders’ rights

Since the 1960s, plant breeders can have exclusive control over a new variety of a plant they create for twenty years following a submission to the plant variety office. Control over everything from seeds to cuttings is given to that breeder for that period of time if that office decides that their plant is genetically or physically distinct. As a result, plant breeders’ can technically have unique rights to the cannabis seeds they breed.

In the U.S., you can also patent genetic varieties of any plant. This includes cannabis seeds. Though the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is federal, it operates independently of other government agencies. This means that you can patent weed strains, and many companies have done so already.

However, even if someone does rightfully own a patent of a certain type of seed, that doesn’t mean that their patent is enforceable nationwide.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you can patent asexually reproduced plants if they possess certain characteristics due to their genetics or if they’re a hybrid version of a different plant. According to one Reuters report, 39 cannabinoid-related patents were filed in 2018. Cannabinoids are the compounds found in weed that vary from strain-to-strain.

The vast majority of these patents went to drug companies. A few went to universities and other entities.

Another industry that will boom post-legalization.

Cannabis law is still under development. However, entrepreneurs and big companies alike are increasingly patenting a major element that can set their product apart from the rest: cannabis seeds. With the rights to a signature strain, there are two things that can be done:

Sell them over the internet or in stores to the increasing number of growers and individuals looking to produce their own weed

Today, people all over the internet are selling cannabis seeds with little to no oversight but, seemingly in anticipation of legalization, corporations are striving to control everything from plant genetics to technology. This could help certain ahead of their time companies could control major industries like CBD — all thanks to seed patents they’ve filed today.

10 Best Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Cannabis Seeds Online in 2022 (Ships to US)

Cannabis has never been more popular in the United States, with an overwhelming number of Americans expressing support for legalization, according to the Pew Research Center. With some 37 states having legalized cannabis for medical use, and sixteen for recreational purposes, more Americans than ever are considering growing their own cannabis.

Buoying this surge further is the 2018 Farm Bill, which helped dramatically boost both cannabis and hemp production in the U.S. Now, demand is higher than ever among Americans looking to grow their own. So, where are they turning? Most likely, to the hundreds if not thousands of cannabis seed banks found online, just a Google search away.

Seed banks, for the uninitiated, are repositories that store seeds to maintain and propagate genetic diversity. Cannabis seed banks online thus provide would-be growers with the seeds they need to get started growing cannabis. The problem, however, is that not all of these are reputable, and there is a wide range in overall quality among these vendors. So many options might leave beginning growers understandably scratching their heads.

Well, that’s where we come in! Today, we’re looking at ten of the very best seed banks from which U.S. citizens—at least in states that have legalized growing your own—can order seeds and start producing their very own cannabis.

Top 10 Cannabis Seed Banks To Buy Seeds Online

Rank Brand Best For
1. I Love Growing Marijuana (ILGM) Best overall
2. Crop King Seeds Best for global shipping
3. MSNL Seedbank Best delivery
4. Seedsman Best seed variety
5. Quebec Cannabis Seeds Best for promotional offers
6. Herbies Best for convenience
7. Ministry of Cannabis Best for dependability
8. Seed Supreme Best for crypto
9. Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds Best for guaranteed delivery
10. Weed Seed Express Best “new kid on the block”

Ranking Criteria

To some extent, your choice of cannabis seed bank will depend on whether they have the strains that you want to grow. We obviously could not consider that in our rankings, as it varies from person to person. Instead, we focused on the following equally important factors.

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Quality of Seeds

Perhaps the most important consideration in our rankings is the quality of the seeds. You need high-quality seeds if you want to maximize your chances of successful germination. High-quality seeds also optimize the quality of your plants, including the buds.

Satisfaction Guarantees

For a seed bank to be considered one of the top options, it needs to have a satisfaction guarantee. Even seed banks with a high quality of seeds will occasionally have lower-quality seeds. The best ones acknowledge that this can happen and take steps to remedy any issues customers have. Of course, a satisfaction guarantee also shows that the seed bank in question has a high level of trust in its products.

Discreet Shipping

Even if cannabis is legal in your state, it may not be in the states your package passes through. And there are still some negative connotations and stigma associated with cannabis. Because of this, we prioritize seed banks that use discreet packaging. Many of the best seed banks not only use discreet packaging but also purposely package it to look like something else, like a DVD case or toy.

Why Trust Us

You should feel comfortable taking our advice when it comes to cannabis seed banks. We’ve helped cannabis growers find reputable seed banks online for years. Over this time, we have reviewed most of the largest and most popular stores, along with many of the smaller ones. We have taken the time to thoroughly compare and contrast each based on the above ranking criteria.

Simply put, our rankings are the result of years of knowledge, experience, and research, along with a careful point-by-point comparison.

There’s a reason that ILGM takes the top spot in not only our review but many others. In addition to fantastic customer service and a wide variety of seeds to choose from, they also provide tons of sales and discounts while educating customers through an extensive library of growing resources.

As far as their seeds, the quality is excellent and, importantly, backed by a germination guarantee. They have a variety of classic cannabis strains as well as some you may have never heard of before. As far as safety, ILGM has an extremely solid reputation and their customer service easily competes with the best out there. In fact, on TrustPilot they have more than 4,000 user reviews with an average rating of 4.8/5.

Considering how reputable ILGM is, coupled with an extensive collection of top-quality seeds, it was not at all difficult to select them for the top spot on our list. The only real downside—and it’s a minor one—with ILGM is that it will cost a pretty penny if you want tracked shipping, as it costs $25 (compared to their standard shipping, which is free).

  • Monthly deals and promos
  • Extremely reputable and highly rated
  • Germination guarantee (money back)
  • Discreet packaging
  • Free standard shipping
  • Features all the best-known strains
  • Growing resources and 24/7 support
  • Delivery with tracking will set you back $25

2.) Crop King Seeds — Best for International Customers

Crop King Seeds gets points for its easy-to-use site—some of its competitors still feature clunky sites, which can be unappealing to the modern cannabis grower, skewing younger every year. Crop King Seeds also wins points for being a beginner-friendly site, with germination guides to help you grow (literally!).

With a massive variety of strains, Crop King has received thousands of positive reviews for its seeds, and its reviews are regulated, helping keep out biased or paid reviewers and showing you who are regular customers. Their reviews frequently indicate high germination rates, from 80 to even 100 percent.

To help narrow your choices, use the site’s filters to find what’s best for you. Crop King is also reasonable in terms of shipping, with $10 and $30 for regular and express, respectively, plus free shipping on orders over $300.

  • Germination rate of 80 percent or more
  • Special review system
  • Germination guides
  • Helpful infographics
  • Free shipping for larger ($300+) orders
  • Global shipping
  • No free shipping
  • One- to two-week shipping time is among the slowest
  • Targeted to beginners, which might turn off more experienced growers

3.) MSNL Seedbank — Best For Quickest Delivery

MSNL has been in the game for a long time and is definitely among the most reliable seed banks out there. It also offers one of the fastest processing and shipping times, so if you need seeds right away, MSNL should be at the top of your list.

This reputable seed bank also runs frequent promos, enabling you to save some money (especially over the long haul). Although they have a great range of male and female seeds to order from, MSNL does lose some points due to its lack of a germination guarantee.

One thing that does keep it toward the top of our list is its lightning fast and discreet shipping, which has helped make it one of the most popular seed banks online. Another nice feather in MSNL’s cap is the fact that their seeds have won High Times and Cannabis Cups.

  • Fast and discreet shipping
  • Lot of promos/freebies
  • Solid strain variety
  • Subpar customer support
  • No germination guarantees

4.) Seedsman — Best for Selection

Seedsman—true to its name—offers an amazing variety of seeds, many of which are top quality. Whether you’re after feminized seeds, auto-flowering seeds, or rare seed strains, Seedsman will almost certainly have you covered. OG Kush, White Widow, Purple Haze, Girl Scout Cookies—they’ve got all your favorites.

Another nice aspect of Seedsman is they tend to give out a lot of free seeds when buying in bulk. So if that’s you, you’ll reap some additional seeds by going through Seedsman. They also offer worldwide shipping, which makes them a solid option if you’re outside of the U.S.

Although Seedsman is one of our top picks overall, thanks in particular to its extensive seed variety, it does lose some points due to its questionable customer service and somewhat clunky website.

  • Worldwide shipping
  • Massive seed variety
  • Free seeds with bulk purchases
  • Subpar customer support

Quebec Cannabis Seeds is a great seed bank overall, but particularly if you live in the U.S., as its proximity makes for quick deliveries compared to some other seed banks.

Although Quebec Cannabis Seeds lacks the variety of many of the other seed banks on this list, it helps make up for it in a variety of ways—namely, fast delivery, awesome discounts, and high-quality seeds. They’re an especially good choice if you’re on a budget, as their weekly discounts offer big savings—sometimes up to 50 percent, although often in the still-great 10-25 percent range.

A few other things about this French-Canadian seed bank: It carries a germination guarantee but also has a no-return policy, which seem to kind of cancel each other out, and it also allows for payment in USD—so no need to do any conversions, but be mindful of their 3.8 percent credit card fee.

  • Germination guarantees
  • Weekly discounts
  • Fast deliveries to the U.S.
  • No return policy

6.) Herbies — Best for Convenience

Herbies also makes our list in large part thanks to its site’s convenient layout. It’s really easy to navigate and figuring out what’s discounted and what’s highly rated is a breeze, thanks to their intuitive, color-coded system.

In addition, Herbies also shares many similarities with the other seed banks listed here in that it has a wide range of top-quality seeds. They also have reliably quick processing and shipping, which can be really important when you’re trying to get a grow operation underway quickly.

Thanks to how easy the Herbies site is to navigate, as well as its solid value in terms of variety, quality, and shipping, it easily makes our list of the best overall online seed banks. Unfortunately, like a fair number of seed banks online, its customer support is sorely lacking.

  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Reliable and fast shipping
  • Top-quality seeds
  • Weak customer support
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7.) Ministry of Cannabis — Best for Reliability

Ministry of Cannabis is super reliable, which has helped it gain a lot of happy customers, even though it lacks the number of promos offered by many other seed banks. This seed bank tends to attract serious customers because they have a unique feature: rotating seed stocks.

This attention to the freshness of their seed supply helps make Ministry of Cannabis one of the most reliable seed banks out there. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to get bunk seeds. Another feature that helps them win “best dependability” is their above-average customer support.

Overall, Ministry of Cannabis is a solid choice, even if we’d appreciate seeing more promos offered like many of its competitors. Their fresh supply of seeds is probably why they feel as if they can get away with not having a germination guarantee like many other seed banks.

  • Solid variety
  • Fresh seed supply
  • Reliable customer support
  • No germination guarantees
  • Few promos

8.) Seed Supreme — Best for Digital Currencies

Seed Supreme is our “best for crypto” pick because not only do they accept cryptocurrency, like many of the other seed banks featured here, but they even have special discounts for Bitcoin. This makes it an appealing choice in particular for Bitcoin holders, as they can save quite a good bit of money.

In terms of the other usual suspects, Seed Supreme does well. They have a good strain variety and, although their customer support is subpar, they do offer loyalty rewards that pay off over time. You might be better off with a different option if you don’t care about paying in crypto (and specifically Bitcoin).

  • Discounts (up to 30 percent!) for paying in Bitcoin
  • Above-average strain variety
  • Loyalty rewards program
  • Lacking in customer service

9.) Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds — Best for Prompt Delivery

Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds insists on having top-notch quality. Although it may lack some of the seed variety of its competitors, you’re guaranteed to receive seeds of the highest quality, making it one of the more reliable suppliers for serious growers.

Another aspect that helps it win “best guaranteed delivery” is the fact that customers have claimed that their orders were guaranteed, even in the event that customs confiscated their packages. This helps make up for the fact that Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds has one of the slowest shipping speeds on this list. This stings a little less though if you’re on a tight budget, as shipping is free.

  • Free shipping
  • Highest quality seeds
  • Guaranteed orders
  • Slow shipping speeds

Every industry has its up and comers and, over time, some of them even manage to supplant the oldest, most well-established companies. Weed Seeds Express might just accomplish this tough feat.

Why? Because they are proving themselves to be one of the most reliable seed banks online, with fast, discreet shipping and a huge variety of high-quality seeds. They also ship worldwide and boast a lot of promos.

The only thing holding back Weed Seeds from claiming one of our top spots is the fact that it’s simply really new to the industry. As long as it continues to do what it’s doing, it will no doubt establish a great reputation and continue to grow (yes, pun intended).

  • Frequent promos
  • Stealthy worldwide shipping
  • Top-quality seeds
  • New on the block

Cannabis Seed Bank FAQ

Q: Is it illegal to buy cannabis seeds in the U.S.?

A: Yes and no. That just depends on where you are! Since each state has their own specific laws, and cannabis has not yet been fully decriminalized/legalized on a federal level (although it’s looking more likely than ever), it depends on your specific state. That said, seed banks usually use an antiquated law to help surmount legal hurdles and conduct their business. This works, in essence, by framing the seeds as either a souvenir or fish bait/bird food. You can see disclaimers about this on their websites.

Q: Which seed banks have the best genetics?

A: The award here goes to the seed banks that have built a great reputation for delivering high-quality seeds: Seedsman, Crop King Seeds, and Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds. These banks, it would seem, test their seeds to ensure that the strains are of the highest quality. Stick to these three if acquiring top-quality seeds is your main preference.

Q: Does it matter how I pay for my seeds?

A: Once again, it depends. Many seed banks actually offer discounts for crypto payments because of the discreet, decentralized nature of how cryptocurrency transactions function. While most accept credit cards, which does offer you some protection through your credit card company, many have a strong preference for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Two that offer discounts for Bitcoin payments are Seed Supreme and I Love Growing Marijuana. With these two, it can definitely add up to solid savings—assuming that Bitcoin doesn’t eventually skyrocket in price one day (clearly this is another factor in the acceptance of Bitcoin by many seed banks).

Q: What’s “stealth shipping” and why should I care?

A: The last thing anyone wants is to have issues with their order in terms of customs/government involvement. As such, it’s nice to order from a seed bank that guarantees discreet shipping. A common method is to include other, inexpensive items with the seeds, such as DVD cases. This helps the package seem less suspicious. Another way to keep a low profile is to resist the urge for expedited delivery or a delivery option that requires your signature.

Q: Which seed banks offer worldwide shipping?

A: Weed Seeds Express, Seedsman, and Crop King Seeds. These will need to be your first choices if you live outside of the U.S.

Tips for Using a Cannabis Seed Bank

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your seed bank shopping experience:

  • Browse a number of different sites so that you can take advantage of any special promos that might be going on.
  • Check to make sure that the site has the payment option that you prefer to use (particularly if you are looking to pay via cryptocurrency).
  • Make sure that they ship to your country/state.
  • Check for a “germination guarantee” and, if they don’t have one, investigate their return policies and customer support. You want to make sure that you protect yourself the best you can.
Wrapping Up

We’ve put together this list carefully to ensure that you go about your cannabis seed shopping in a safe way and don’t get ripped off. So, any one of these should do the trick just fine. Ultimately, what it comes down to is your specific preferences—for example, shipping time, location, payment method, reliability, seed variety, etc. Factor these in so that you make the choice that’s best for you.

That said, you can’t really go wrong with one of the most well-established seed banks such as I Love Growing Marijuana or MSNL Seedbank.

How to Start a Cannabis Seed Bank on Your Own

Have you ever wondered how to sell your homegrown weed seeds? In most states and countries, you can’t just sell seeds that you cultivated. You need to use legal ways to distribute and sell your products like a local seed bank or through your own seed bank business. And if you like the idea of starting your own cannabis seed bank, then we’ll guide you. Here are steps on how to start a cannabis seed bank on your own.

Steps How to Start a Cannabis Seed Bank on Your Own?

Imagine selling the seeds you’ve grown in your garden in your very own seed bank? With your own business, you can also sell other seeds grown by other growers or suppliers. And why stop there? Aside from cannabis seeds, you can also sell growing equipment and supplies like growing soil, lighting, humidifiers, growing pots, growing tents, and cabinets.

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1. Understand the Rules About Growing and Sale of Cannabis Seeds in Your Area

Before you even start planning for your cannabis business, it’s safe to check and recheck cannabis growing and sale rules and regulations. Is medical and recreational cannabis legal in your area? Is the cultivation of cannabis allowed?

If you are unsure about the legality of marijuana in your location, consult a cannabis local office, or use resources online. Take note that rules change, and it’s possible for regulations to change without any notice.

2. Plan Your Cannabis Seed Bank Business

After a careful understanding of the legalities of growing cannabis in your area, it’s time to focus on how your cannabis seed bank will operate. The very first thing to consider is whether you want to establish an actual seed bank (a physical store) or an online seed bank.

If You Want a Physical Seed Bank

Consider the following as you plan and set up your physical seed bank business.

1. Location (interior and exterior)

It’s important to consider the location of your physical seed bank. Take note of the proximity to frequented areas like hotels, casinos, shopping centers, restaurants, and tourist destinations. Check if there are rules or ordinances regarding the construction of a seed bank in an urban area. You might come across some rules like the establishment that must be located away from schools, playgrounds, parks, churches, hospitals, and other specific areas.

A part of considering your business location is the actual structure where you will conduct business. Are you considering leasing a storefront, or are you using your own property? Will you be constructing a store from scratch or renovating a commercial property?

Other things to consider would be the exterior and interior design of your establishment. Should you hire a professional to design your store, or are you doing the designs yourself? Consider putting emphasis on what your customers are looking for and what they want in a seed bank shop. Also, take note of seed bank interior designs of competitor stores.

Your seed bank must look professional yet inviting with a secure storefront. An area must be set up indoors where customers can wait, check out the products you offer, and where they can get more information about cannabis.

Consider high-class seed banks and dispensaries in Nevada if you want a professional, chic and modern interior design. Or you may want a fun, educational style seed bank just like what you’ll get from Canadian and European seed banks.

2. Products

Do you plan on selling homegrown seeds? Or do you wish to sell different kinds of seeds and strains? Research on the strains and types of seeds that your customers are looking for. Consider the most popular strains, seeds that growers in your area.

It’s important to maintain the quality of your products. Consider partnering with growers and breeders in your area to offer organic or local variety strains. It’s also a good thing to check out international seed banks to provide good quality imported seeds.

Other products that you can sell other than seeds include growing equipment, tools, and supplies. You can also sell guide books, growing bibles, and other helpful books for beginner growers.

3. How Your Business will Operate

You need to consider exactly how your business will operate as you need to include these details in your business permit application. Take note of the hours of operation, how customers can order your products, how payment goes, how the products will be packaged, and if you are going to provide home deliveries.

Almost all successful physical cannabis seed banks have an online store. This online site will help you take orders from customers locally abroad if you plan to offer your products internationally. There are many more considerations in stating how your physical seed bank business will operate, and the more detailed your description is, the better.

4. Manpower

Do you intend to hire a budtender, a shop worker, and security personnel? If so, then you need to consider your worker’s salary, benefits, and additional compensation. Consider staffing, your worker’s different job descriptions, and more.

5. Security

Consider security equipment and personnel in your cannabis seed bank. All seed banks operate in cash, and thus, these businesses are very prone to robberies and other crimes. An efficient security system is not just for your protection but also for your customers’ safety as well. And the more your customers feel secure in your establishment, the more they are likely to buy from you again.

If You Want an Online Seed Bank

Suppose you prefer an online seed bank rather than a physical one. For this kind of business, you need knowledge and skills to set up an online seed bank site. Consider the following:

1. Your Business Domain

Website domains may be purchased online. Domains ensure that you’re the only one to use a certain URL to help your customers find you easily. Also, check out local laws regarding the registry of all cannabis online sites. In some states and countries, only regulated online businesses will be allowed to operate.

2. The Products You Want to Sell

As with actual seed banks, consider the type of products you wish to sell. Do you sell all types of seeds, popular cannabis strains, or strains grown abroad? Do you plan to offer international deliveries, stealth shipment, or regular/local shipment only?

3. The Payment Methods that You Accept

Unlike physical cannabis seed banks, online seed banks are able to accept other forms of payment like a credit card, bank transfers, money transfers, checks, cash, and Bitcoin. Consider these very popular payment options in your own cannabis seed bank.

4. The Delivery Methods You’re Using

Consider the most common delivery methods from where you’re located, such as express delivery and regular deliveries. Meanwhile, some online seed banks also provide stealth shipment. For an additional fee, seed banks ship seeds inside special containers that look like regular objects. This way, your orders won’t be seized as it passes through security and border patrol.

5. The Price of Your Products and Delivery/shipment

Base your product pricing from rates offered locally. You may check out how much other seed banks are asking; make sure to check prices locally and internationally. Consider too the price of shipment locally and abroad.

6. Online Marketing

You must consider professional, expert online marketing to help you reach more customers. Online marketing will make you stand out in Google, so your potential customers will easily locate you.

3. Register Your Business and Get a License

Now that you know clearly what your business would be, it’s time to secure a license for it. The requirements you need to secure a license depends on where you’re located. You also need permits for the distribution of other products as well as a health or sanitation permit if you plan to erect your own cannabis seed bank. Cannabis business requirements vary and may change without any announcements.

4. Talk to Other Seed Banks and Retailers

Get to know your competition, other seed banks, and retailers in your area. Check out how they run their business, the variety of products that they offer, and many more. Now that you know how to start a cannabis seed bank, you may now start planning for your seed bank business. Keep a positive attitude and consider all the steps to start your business. Surely, success won’t be too far behind.