San Luis Obispo County, CA Failed Initiative to Prohibit the Growing of Genetically Engineered Organisms

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San Luis Obispo County, CA, US

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Type: Ballot Initiative

Status: Failed in November 2004

Source File:



Section 1. Finding. The people of San Luis Obispo County wish to protect the county’s agriculture, environment, economy, and private property from genetic pollution by genetically engineered organisms until all the risks associated with these organisms are fully understood.

Section 2. Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically engineered organisms in San Luis Obispo County.

Section 3. Exemptions. Nothing in this Ordinance shall make it unlawful for (1) a fully accredited college or university to engage in scientific research or education using genetically engineered organisms under secure, enclosed laboratory conditions, taking precautions to prevent contamination of the outside environment, or (2) any licensed health care practitioner to provide any diagnosis, care or treatment to any patient.

Section 4. Severability. The provisions of this Ordinance are severable. If any provision of this Ordinance or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

Section 5. Definitions.

(a) “Genetically engineered organisms” means specific organisms whose native intrinsic DNA has been intentionally altered or amended with non-species specific DNA. Such organisms are also sometimes referred to as "genetically modified organisms" or "GMO's".

(b) "Genetic engineering" means altering or amending DNA using recombinant DNA technology. For purposes of this ordinance, genetic engineering does not include traditional selective breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, tissue culture, or to microorganisms created by moving genes or gene segments between unrelated bacteria.

(c) “DNA” or deoxyribonucleic acid, the material naturally found within living cells which contains the genetic code and transmits hereditary patterns.

(d) “Organism” means any living thing, exclusive of human beings and human fetuses

(e) “Agricultural Commissioner” means the Agricultural Commissioner of San Luis Obispo County.

(f) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation or organization of any kind.

Section 6. Penalties.

(a) The Agricultural Commissioner shall notify any person, firm, or corporation that may be in violation of Section 2 of this Ordinance that any organisms in violation of this Ordinance are subject to confiscation and destruction.

(b) Any person, firm, or corporation that receives notification under subparagraph (a) shall have five (5) days to respond to such notification with evidence that such organisms are not in violation of this Ordinance.

(c) Upon receipt of any evidence under paragraph (b), the Agricultural Commissioner shall consider such evidence and any other evidence that is presented or which is relevant to a determination of such violation. The Agricultural Commissioner shall make such determination as soon as possible, but at least before any genetic pollution may occur

(d) Upon making a determination that a violation of this Ordinance exists, the Agricultural Commissioner shall cause to be confiscated and destroyed any such organisms that are in violation of this Ordinance before any genetic pollution may occur.

(e) If the Agricultural Commissioner determines there has been a violation of this Ordinance, in addition to confiscation and destruction of any organisms that are found to be in violation, the Agricultural Commissioner shall impose a monetary penalty on the person, firm, or corporation responsible for the violation, taking into account the amount of damage, any potential damage, and the willfulness of the person, firm, or corporation.