San Juan County residents in Washington State passed Initiative Measure No. 2012-4 to ban the growth of genetically modified organisms. The initiative makes it illegal to "propagate, cultivate, raise or grow plants, animals and other organisms which have been genetically modified" in San Juan County.
The Initiative does still allow for the growth of hybrid organisms and GMOs to be grown by health care providers and researchers only, in secure and controlled environments. The Initiative effects local farmers, who were largely behind it's passing. The Initiative will not effect GMO products sold in local food stores.
Violators of the new law will be charged with a public nuisance and a fine for the first offense. A second violation will be considered a misdemeanor, and the third and subsequent violations will be a gross misdemeanor.
The group "GMO-Free San Juans" stated, "GMO’s are a corporate intrusion we cant afford if we seek a healthy food system. We as citizens deserve the choice.”
Growing concern is mounting after several studies have linked GMO products to everything from organ failure to sterility. With over 80% of food in U.S. grocery stores containing GMO ingredients, more and more citizens are moving to get GMO products labeled, including Washington based group "Label it Wa" who are working to get labeling laws passed.
"Approving this initiative would show that the residents of San Juan County are elitists, ignorant of the benefits of technological advances, and uncaring about the planet and its inhabitants," was an argument by opponents of the San Juan initiative in the county voter's guide.
At this time 90 percent of American citizens approve the labeling of GMO products.