Q:

Is extracting Ricin from castor beans illegal?

A:

Quick Answer

Possession of castor bean seeds is completely legal, but it is illegal to extract ricin from them. Ricin is a Schedule 1 substance under the United States Chemical Weapons Convention, making it illegal for individuals to possess in pure form except for authorized scientific and medical research purposes.

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Full Answer

The production and possession of ricin are federal offenses, according to the FBI. Possession of a biological warfare agent is a felony, reports CNN. Penalties may include lengthy prison sentences, especially if the intent to harm others can be demonstrated. A Manhattan man faces life in prison as of August 2015 for attempting to buy ricin over the Internet, according to Reuters.

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