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  • Writer's picturePollinator Stewardship Council

California Bans Sale of Neonics

Governor Gavin Newsom of California has taken a significant step towards protecting the environment and pollinators by signing into law Assembly Bill 363 (AB363). This new legislation will ban the over-the-counter sales of neonicotinoid pesticides by 2025. Under the new law, the use of neonics will be restricted to trained professionals, with the objective of preventing environmental damage and reducing the impacts on essential pollinators.

In addition to restricting sales, AB 363 mandates the Department of Pesticide Regulation to conduct an analysis of the worst uses of neonics and take appropriate measures to minimize their negative effects. While DPR recently completed a reevaluation of neonicotinoid pesticide uses in agriculture, it overlooked the non-agricultural uses that contribute to the contamination of urban and suburban waters across the state. This oversight raised concerns regarding the health of California's diverse ecosystems, its 1,600 native bee species, and the well-being of its residents. Under AB 363, DPR will now be required to undertake a more rigorous examination of remaining neonic uses and provide additional mitigation measures as needed. This enhanced review will fill the existing gap in addressing the threats posed by neonicotinoids in urban and suburban areas and will further contribute to the state's duty to safeguard vital ecosystems and promote sustainable agriculture.

The legislation, which garnered widespread support from environmental organizations including PSC, aims to protect pollinators and the essential role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and food production. The Pollinator Stewardship Council provided advocacy efforts for the bill and participated in events held by Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who authored AB363.  By limiting access to neonicotinoid pesticides, California is taking an important step towards mitigating the risks associated with their widespread use and setting an example by demonstrating the crucial role that government action can play in preserving the environment and biodiversity.

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