Maine to Vote on Ballot Measure Concerning “Right” to Save, Exchange Seeds

  • On October 20, 2021

On November 2, citizens of Maine will vote on a state constitution ballot measure addressing, among other things, the “right” to save and exchange seeds. If passed, the measure, titled, “Right to Produce, Harvest, and Consume Food Amendment (2021)” would add the following language to the state’s Constitution: “All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”

ASTA has serious concerns about the potential impacts on intellectual property rights protections, should the measure pass. ASTA has joined a coalition led by the Maine Farm Bureau to educate the public on related facts. The Maine Farm Bureau, Maine Municipal Association, Maine Veterinary Medical Association, Maine Potato Board, and others have publicly opposed the proposition due to its lack of clarity and the certainty of legal challenges if passed.