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PLANTS AND ANIMALS


Local medical marijuana patients got some good news this week from the California Supreme Court with a preliminary ruling that says state medical marijuana laws can coexist with more stringent federal laws. Though the decision is far from final, the tentative ruling essentially dismisses the lawsuit brought against the state by the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, and Merced that claimed that state medical marijuana policies are obsolete because they contradict federal law.

In the last 14 years, only one California condor had successfully flown in the wild. But this past October, six-month-old fledgling Number 412 left its perch in the Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and ascended into the Ventura sky. The last of the California condors were taken into captivity in 1984 when environmental pressures threatened their extinction, but thanks to the California Condor Recovery Program, which houses some of the birds in “condor-miniums” at the San Diego Zoo, their numbers have risen from 22 to 289 this year. When fully grown, the condor commands a daunting nine-and-a-half foot wingspan of pitch black feathers, making it the largest of California’s native birds.

Pesticide use on Santa Barbara county farms rose last year, according to new data released by the state. “We had a slight increase in pesticide use,” said John Myhre of the County Agriculture Commission, “but the general trend was toward lower toxicity.” Myhre pointed out that the most-used chemical in the county was sulfur, which classifies as a pesticide but is not toxic and is used on organic foods from grapes and strawberries to squash and chickpeas.

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