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Questions: Lacey Act Amendment

Questions: Lacey act amendment

by Ric Larson, Chuck Erikson, Anne Middleton, and Michael Greenfield

Originally published in American Lutherie #103, 2010

Lucy from the Internet asks:

The Lacey Act amendment that went into effect in 2008 may have great impact on makers, wood merchants, instrument dealers, and the general public. What is it and how will it affect my ability to get the raw materials I need to build musical instruments? What will it mean for importing finished instruments to sell in my store? And what consequences will it have for the supply of wood I have accumulated over the years? I am planning on requiring all wood suppliers I deal with in the future to be able to indicate botanical names and country of origin for every piece of wood I buy. Are they prepared to do this?

Ric Larson from Vikwood in Sheboygan, Wisconsin replies:

We have been requiring all our wood suppliers to comply with the Lacey Act for the past year in anticipation of the actual effective date (April 1, 2010). In addition we have asked them to go back and send us copies of all their nation’s government permits for harvesting, cutting, and exporting the various species they sent us during the past two years. Fortunately we have only the most scrupulous and honest suppliers so this was an easy, albeit time-consuming, job. I am by no means any kind of expert regarding the Lacey Act and struggle to find answers. We don’t know how to account for the inventory that dates back in some cases almost twenty years for some of the slower-moving species. It would seem to make sense that this inventory would not be affected by the law since it predated the effective date, but we don’t really know.

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