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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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