What Are the Legal Considerations for Selling Opium Poppy Seeds?


Quick Answer

Selling opium poppy seeds is legal in the United States, and a number of seed companies distribute them for use in baked goods, salad dressings and soap products, reports SFGate. However, it is illegal to grow or possess opium poppy plants, as growers use the milky substance from the pods to make dangerous drugs such as opium, heroin, morphine and codeine.

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Full Answer

Opium poppy seeds are rich in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and fiber, according to the Washington Post. In Eastern Europe and Israel, they are popular not only in bakery products but also in pastas and other foods. However, although they are legal, people should eat them in moderation, suggests Nutrition Facts. The amount of opium that poppy seeds contain depends on where the seeds are from, when growers harvest them, and how well the manufacturers clean and process them, explains the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Consuming muffins, cakes, bagels and other baked goods that contain poppy seeds sometimes cause doping tests to have positive results, and to be safe, those anticipating upcoming tests should abstain from eating products with poppy seeds.

Although opium poppies are attractive, the addictive and illegal drugs that growers manufacture from their pods cause the U.S. government to control them legally, according to GardenGuides.com. Because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency rates opiates at high risk for dependency and abuse, the United States does not grow opium poppies commercially but instead imports opium for pharmaceutical use, states SFGate. Gardeners can grow any other type of poppies legally.

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