Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
More than 2 million people use Erowid every month.
Only 250 of those contribute $1 or more.
If you use Erowid, Please Donate.
Opium Poppy
Legal Status
by Erowid
Caution :   All legal information should be verified through other sources. [see below]
Papaver somniferum
Schedule II
Opium poppies are specifically scheduled under U.S. Law. The Controlled Substances Act, Schedule II, lists "Opium poppy and poppy straw" as well as "Concentrate of poppy straw (the crude extract of poppy straw in either liquid, solid or powder form which contains the phenanthrene alkaloids of the opium poppy)". Opium and its constituent chemicals are listed in Schedule II and some derivatives (such as Heroin) are listed in Schedule I.

There is some confusion in the law, however, because opium-producing poppies are widely grown around the US and Canada and the opium poppy seeds are omnipresent in cooking, breads, and deserts. The grey-blue poppy seeds sold in virtually every grocery store in the US contain low levels of opiates (not psychoactive at amounts used in cooking). Poppy pods are widely used in dry flower arrangements.

Law enforcement in the US is somewhat inconsistent about these plants, although there are continual attempts to try to stop them from being sold or grown. If poppies are grown as sources for opiates, there is no question that it violates the CSA. If poppies are purely grown for ornamental purposes, their legal position is somewhat less clear cut, since they are so widely grown and available.

Opium for legal commercial pharmaceutical use is grown with special government licenses around the world, although very little of it is grown inside the US. Large scale underground opium poppy growing is reported to take place in Mexico, Afghanistan, and many other countries in Asia. Much of the produced opium is converted into heroin because it is easier to ship and commands a higher price than raw opium.

The U.S. DEA recently re-affirmed in 2006 that Afghanistan is not a legal source for poppy products. See http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/E6-16325.htm:
  (f) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, 
the Administrator shall permit, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 952(a)(1) or 
(a)(2)(A), the importation of approved narcotic raw material (opium, 
poppy straw and concentrate of poppy straw) having as its source:
    (1) Turkey,
    (2) India,
    (3) Spain,
    (4) France,
    (5) Poland,
    (6) Hungary, and
    (7) Australia.
    (g) At least eighty (80) percent of the narcotic raw material 
imported into the United States shall have as its original source 
Turkey and India. Except under conditions of insufficient supplies of 
narcotic raw materials, not more than twenty (20) percent of the 
narcotic raw material imported into the United States annually shall 
have as its source Spain, France, Poland, Hungary and Australia.
Brazil #
Papaver somniferum is controlled in Brazil, and requires a Ministry of Health license to cultivate. (thanks P)
Canada #
The "Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum), its preparations, derivatives, alkaloids and salts" including all of the chemicals in poppies are controlled and listed in Schedule I in Canadian law. Seeds are specifically excepted from the list and are legal and readily available throughout Canada. (Note: Canadian schedules are very different than U.S. schedules). See Canadian Psychoactive Laws.
Finland #
Growing poppies is allowed for ornamental purposes and seeds are widely sold without restriction, but according to criminal law (chapter 50 section 1) growing Papaver somniferum to produce a drug is a crime. (unconfirmed) (thanks t) (last updated Sep 20 2010)
If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other country, please let us know.

Erowid legal information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, websites, and other resources. We are not lawyers and can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided here. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but laws are complex and constantly changing. Laws may also vary from one jurisdiction to another (county, state, country, etc)...this list is not comprehensive.