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SENATE BILL NO. 178
INTRODUCED BY L. NELSON
AN ACT IMPLEMENTING A MORATORIUM ON THE HARVEST OR REMOVAL OF WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS FROM STATE LANDS; ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE ON WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS TO ACQUIRE THE NECESSARY TECHNICAL INFORMATION TO DETERMINE SUSTAINABLE COLLECTING OF WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS ON STATE LANDS AND TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATION IF APPROPRIATE; REQUIRING THE GOVERNOR TO NOTIFY FEDERAL AGENCIES AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS REGARDING THE MORATORIUM AND ALLOWING THE GOVERNOR, WHEN APPROPRIATE, TO ENTER INTO A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH A FEDERAL AGENCY OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP ENSURE THE SUSTAINABILITY OF WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS THROUGHOUT MONTANA; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS AND A PENALTY; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE AND A TERMINATION DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Statement of policy. (1) It is the intent of the legislature to regulate the taking of wild medicinal plants from state lands in order to protect and preserve the natural ecosystem integrity of state lands in perpetuity and safeguard the state's commercial interest in a potentially sustainable enterprise.
(2) In this connection, the legislature recognizes and declares that:
(a) school trust lands are held in trust for the support of education and for the attainment of other worthy objects helpful to the well-being of the people of the state;
(b) it is the duty of the board of land commissioners to administer this trust so as to secure the largest measure of legitimate and reasonable advantage to the state;
(c) the conservation and preservation of native wild medicinal plants on school trust lands and all lands owned and administered by the state for the enjoyment and inspiration of future generations is an object worthy of legislative action helpful to the well-being of the people of the state;
(d) the unregulated commercial harvest of wild medicinal plants from state lands creates a threat to the sustainability of wild medicinal plant species, increases the possibility of erosion, weed encroachment, and other adverse environmental effects, and deprives the school trust of potential income;
(e) the preservation of wild medicinal plants on state trust land has sufficient value to present and future education to meet the state's obligation for the disposition and utilization of trust lands as specified in the Enabling Act; and
(f) a moratorium on the harvest of wild medicinal plants on state lands provides the time to acquire necessary technical information to recommend policy and benefits all Montanans by raising public awareness of wild medicinal plants and their importance and value, by ensuring the viability of wild medicinal plant populations on state lands, and by preventing erosion and enhancing conservation efforts.
Section 2. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 5], the following definitions apply:
(1) "State lands" has the same meaning as provided in 77-1-101.
(2) "Wild medicinal plant" means an indigenous plant species as it occurs in the wild, with documented or potential risk of unsustainable commercial collecting, including:
(a) bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva);
(b) echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia);
(c) lady's slipper (all species of Cypripedium);
(d) lomatium (Lomatium dissectum);
(e) osha (all species of Ligusticum);
(f) sundew (all species of Drosera); and
(g) trillium or Beth root (Trillium ovatum).
Section 3. Moratorium on harvest of wild medicinal plants on state lands -- penalty. (1) For a period of 3 years after [the effective date of this act], the collection, disturbance, alteration, or removal of wild medicinal plants from state lands for human consumption is prohibited. The harvesting or other taking of wild medicinal plants or plant specimens from state lands is not a recreational use for which a general or special recreational use license may be issued. The harvesting or other taking of wild medicinal plants or plant specimens from state lands for purposes of scientific study by an accredited representative of an accredited school, college, university, or other institution of higher learning or of any government agency is not prohibited under the moratorium. The incidental disturbance of medicinal plants by a state land lessee who is lawfully exercising rights granted under the lease is not considered to be a violation of the moratorium.
(2) A violation of the moratorium imposed in this section is considered an illegal removal of a valuable resource from state lands. A person convicted of violating the moratorium is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day of violation.
Section 4. Task force on wild medicinal plants -- report to governor and legislature. (1) The governor shall appoint a task force on wild medicinal plants. The task force may consist of members of the public and government agencies who are interested in wild medicinal plants. Membership on the task force is voluntary, and members shall serve without compensation. Membership may include but is not limited to:
(a) the director of the department of natural resources and conservation or a representative of the director;
(b) the director of the department of agriculture or a representative of the director;
(c) a person or persons with knowledge of the scientific aspects of indigenous medicinal plants, including biology, plant physiology, pharmacology, and plant preservation and sustainability;
(d) a person or persons with knowledge of the cultural, historical, and spiritual aspects of wild medicinal plants;
(e) a representative or representatives of Montana tribal governments;
(f) a representative of the medicinal plant production industry; and
(g) a representative of the Montana university system.
(2) The task force shall remain in effect for the duration of the moratorium period established in [section 3].
(3) The task force shall meet as often as necessary during the moratorium established in [section 3] to study and compile the necessary technical information on wild medicinal plants on state lands. The study must include but is not limited to:
(a) a baseline report that addresses the range, taxonomy, and viability of indigenous wild medicinal plants on state lands, which may include a status report and a research report on demographic field research results;
(b) the effects of improper harvesting on wild medicinal plants and possible harvesting techniques that will ensure the future viability of indigenous wild medicinal plants on state lands;
(c) the potential for replacing noxious weeds on state lands with sustainable populations of propagated wild medicinal plants;
(d) symbiotic relationships between wild medicinal plants and other plant and animal species that are critical to the survival of wild medicinal plants;
(e) educational efforts designed to inform state trust land lessees and the public regarding the proper identification of indigenous wild medicinal plants and the maintenance of sustainable populations of those plants; and
(f) potential income that might be available to the school trust from future sustainable agricultural practices that enhance the proper cultivation, harvest, and marketing of wild medicinal plants on state lands.
(4) The task force shall report to the governor annually and to the legislature at each regular legislative session regarding the progress on and results of the technical studies and policy recommendations regarding wild medicinal plants and may make recommendations for legislation regarding management of wild medicinal plants on state lands.
Section 5. Notice to land management agencies and tribal governments -- memorandum of understanding. (1) The governor shall notify all federal government agencies that manage public land in Montana and the tribal governments of the various tribes in Montana of the moratorium imposed on state lands in [section 3] and encourage those federal and tribal entities to consider imposing a similar moratorium on federal and tribal lands, emphasizing the seriousness of illegal harvesting, appropriate educational efforts, and Montana's commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of wild medicinal plant populations in Montana.
(2) Recognizing that the state's natural heritage provides the basis for Montana's economic strength and quality of life and that sustaining the diversity and condition of the state's natural ecosystems is a prerequisite for maintaining the state's prosperity and in order to develop a coordinated statewide strategy to help ensure the protection of wild medicinal plants throughout Montana, the governor, when appropriate, shall seek to enter into memoranda of understanding with the federal agencies and tribal governments. Through a memorandum of understanding, the parties shall agree to work with the task force on wild medicinal plants to ensure the protection of wild medicinal plants through improved coordination, exchange of information, conflict resolution, and collaboration. Issues addressed in a memorandum of understanding may include:
(a) biodiversity-related policies and regulations;
(b) land management practices, land use planning, and land and reserve acquisition and exchange;
(c) private landowner assistance;
(d) educational outreach and public relations; and
(e) wild medicinal plant monitoring, inventory, assessment, restoration, and research and technology development.
Section 6. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
Section 7. Termination. [This act] terminates 3 years after [the effective date of this act].
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Latest Version of SB 178 (SB0178.ENR)
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