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Understanding the Lacey Act & Staying Compliant

Updated: Oct 8, 2023


The Lacey Act of 1900 is a significant piece of legislation in the U.S. that addresses the illegal trade of wildlife, plants, and their products. Named after its primary sponsor, Congressman John F. Lacey, the act was passed to combat the widespread poaching and trafficking of wildlife. The Lacey Act prohibits the transport, sale, and purchase of any wildlife, fish, or plants taken in violation of state, tribal, or foreign laws. It also makes it illegal to falsely label or smuggle protected species across state or national borders. The act has been amended several times over the years to include additional protections.


Today, the Lacey Act continues to be a crucial tool in conservation efforts and the fight against illegal wildlife trade. The law is especially relevant for endangered species, and violations can result in severe criminal and civil penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and asset forfeiture.


As a business owner or individual who deals with plants or wildlife, you must ensure that you comply with the Lacey Act. Compliance is essential to avoid violations, government enforcement actions, and reputational harm. It is important to note that the Lacey Act applies not only to individuals but also to businesses and their officers, directors, and agents.


We can help you assess and manage risks related to your operations and supply chain. Additionally, we can help you develop and implement compliance programs that meet legal standards and best practices. In the event of a government action related to the Lacey Act, such as a seizure notice or detainment, we can provide prompt and effective assistance. Our goal is to help you avoid violations, legal disputes, and reputational harm.


Have questions? Contact our office today at (917) 546-6997, we would be happy to speak with you.


If you found this article helpful, click here to read our article on the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act share a common objective of protecting and preserving wildlife, with the ESA specifically targeting endangered species and their habitats, while the Lacey Act focuses on preventing illegal trafficking and trade of protected species. Compliance with both acts is crucial for both individuals and businesses.


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