Mushroom Bill Becomes Law With Help From Two Seacoast Politicians
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed eight bills into law last week, including one proclaiming a state spider and another establishing a licensing process for mushroom identifiers, harvesters and distributors.
HB 345 was approved on Thursday. It allows officials at the NH Department of Health and Human Services to assess fines for people who make money from wild mushrooms without a license.
The bill also requires officials at DHHS to develop a list of approved mushrooms for distribution as well as an educational curriculum for license applicants.
State Rep. Peter Bixby, D-Dover, and State Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, were both listed as sponsors of the bill.
Bixby, who is on the Committee on Environment and Agriculture, said on Monday afternoon that up until now, there was no mechanism to ensure people who harvested and sold mushrooms knew what they were doing.
The problem is some wild mushrooms in New Hampshire are toxic, while others are safe for human consumption.
Bixby said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Jerry Knirk, D-Freedom, researched the topic and designed a method of licensing that is fairly straightforward for the average person.
"I think it's a very well-designed bill," Bixby said.
Under the law, licenses can be received after paying $75 to the department, fulfilling educational requirements and passing examinations approved by officials.
Anyone who identifies, harvests or distributes wild mushrooms without having a license to do so may be subject to an administrative fee levied by the DHHS commissioner.
That fee could be up to $1,000.
Food establishments and retail stores where wild mushrooms are sold can also be subject to a $1,000 fine if proper procedures are not followed, according to the bill's text.
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.
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