Plant Importation and Lacey Act Provisions

Boyce Tankersley
Fri, 10 Oct 2008 13:14:39 PDT
Dear All:

I want to share some information that recently came my way that will
impact importations of plants into the US.

A last minute addendum to the Agricultural Appropriations bill passed
earlier this summer changed the Lacey Act as follows:

"basically the Agriculture bill which is now law included new language
which amends the Lacey Act to include "any wild member of the plant
kingdom, including roots, seeds, parts, and products thereof" and give
the Secretary of Agriculture 180 days to come up with procedures for

 For animal specimens, the Lacey Act basically means that it is a felony
in the USA to import any animals that have been collected illegally
under any level of law at their point of origin, and the burden of
proving material is legally collected is on the collector and/or the
collection in which the material comes to reside.  It is among the most
pervasive of US laws because of the impact of making foreign law a
felony. For insects, it is often hard to prove that their export is not
regulated by particular countries, because often no regulatory office
has the authority to write a letter saying they don't regulate them, but
at the same time, they will tell you in person that they don't care
about insects."

It appears that we will need a letter from the country of origin in the
future stating that the plants, seeds, roots, cuttings, etc. that we
import were collected legally. 

Boyce Tankersley
Director of Living Plant Documentation
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
tel: 847-835-6841
fax: 847-835-1635

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