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Obscure Seed Law May Have Wider Implications

November 21, 2014
When Assembly Member Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced AB 2470, the bill appeared to be minor legislation intended to make technical changes to the 1967 California Seed Law.
However, last-minute amendments saw the bill morph into something more far-reaching.

AB 2470, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, will stop cities and counties from regulating plants, crops or seeds without state Department of Agriculture authorization. The regulation of seeds and crops has primarily been addressed by counties or the state. Relatively few cities have adopted ordinances governing crops given the lack of agricultural land within city limits.
The full effect of AB 2470 remains unclear. There is concern that the measure will limit a city’s power within its own jurisdiction to prohibit the sale or production of invasive or unwanted seeds and plants — including genetically modified crops. Several groups are considering pursuing legislation to address what they perceive as AB 2470’s unintended consequences. The law could also affect new local medical marijuana ordinances. Local laws already on the books will stand once AB 2470 goes into effect, but cities eying new ordinances must act before Jan. 1 or be subject to the new state law.

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