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Thread: Definitive Interpretation of CITES?

  1. #9
    theplantman's Avatar
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    If you have a CITES species, then the absolute best thing you can do for conservation purposes is create pure-species seed and donate it to the ICPS seedbank. That way:
    (1) more than 1 individual can obtain it
    (2) more plants can be produced than from simple division
    (3) the ICPS holds all appropriate permits for distributing these plants; no legality issues of any kind

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    Not sure if I can add anything that hasn't already been spoken, but, this is how I've always taken it:
    1. Selling of these plants within state is perfectly legal.
    2. Selling these plants out of state without permits is illegal
    3. Giving these plants away and asking for payment of shipping or postage (including seeds, unsure concerning standard SASE with this) out of state is illegal
    4. Giving away of these plants, and paying for shipping/postage yourself, is legal.

    And yes, donating pure seeds to places like the ICPS and other conservation places is a very good idea.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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    Given the title of your thread, you should probably read Barry's post about Cites & jurisdiction - since it's not really Cites that you should be concerned about within the USA.

    I seemed to recall Barry discussing the issue of postage, but I'm unable to locate the specific thread. What I recall (or think I recall) is that he's discussed the issue with appropriate authorities and the specific wording makes it a gray area. He suggested taking the more conservative approach as earlier respondents in this thread suggest.

    Even if you were able to get someone to tell you it's ok to charge postage, there's nothing saying that a year later, someone else has a different interpretation and then uses you as an example.

    If you think that the governing authorities are always completely rational & sympathetic, you may not be familiar with the experiences of a forum member a few years ago. Check out the post by Killerplants in this thread (although not completely relevant since it involves importation). I've seen a lot of people post justification saying something like "I did 'X' & nobody said anything so it must be ok." It really doesn't matter how many people got away with something if they decide to use you as an example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RL7836 View Post
    Given the title of your thread, you should probably read Barry's post about Cites & jurisdiction - since it's not really Cites that you should be concerned about within the USA.
    Exactly

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    I knew this was laid out somewhere here, but for some reason I didn't see it in the search results, which is why I asked again; thanks for linking to it! You have a good point about the year to year interpretation. I am glad that I started this thread, because it has made me realize I really knew almost nothing about all of the laws and regulations regarding CP's.

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    One of the big takeaways from Barry's thread is that you should check out the ESA list, in order to know which plants can or can't be sold within the US. There are some species covered under CITES that don't even show up, which means interstate (not international) commerce is fine.

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    Alright, since I'm a Board Member of NASC and will be one of the mods for this event, please let me just make an administrative decision here -

    Do not, I repeat do not offer any of the following plants in the auction: S. alabamensis, S. oreophila, or S. rubra ssp. jonesii. All are listed as federally endangered and the kinds of checks necessary to make sure that they are not put through interstate commerce are too cumbersome for us to oversee. (And, frankly, it not possible for us to do so, anyhow).

    The issue is this - Yes, if you were to look at this guide by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you might conclude that you can sell/trade a plant within state lines. (See more discussion here) But, and this is a big but, even if you were to restrict bids to a single state (and it was legal under state law to sell these species in that state), unless you are personally delivering the plant (and you won't leave the state), it would be very hard to guarantee that the plant will remain entirely in intrastate commerce. It is entirely possible that a package going from Town A to Town B will leave the state on its journey. There are two likely possibilities for this: (1) the mailing service messes up and ships the package to a distribution center way out of the way, realizes the mistake, and returns it to your state (something not unknown to anyone who has ever tracked a couple packages), or (2) the distribution center for either Town A or Town B is in the next state (something common in small states/border towns). If the package leaves the state, it could be reasonably construed as being a channel of interstate commerce, thus violating the Endangered Species Act.

    Because of all that, I'm asking you not to list those three species if you live in or are shipping to the United States.

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