California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 384a
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(a)(1) A person shall not willfully or negligently cut, destroy, mutilate, or remove plant material that is growing upon state or county highway rights-of-way.
(2) A person shall not willfully or negligently cut, destroy, mutilate, or remove plant material that is growing upon public land or upon land that is not his or hers without a written permit from the owner of the land, signed by the owner of the land or the owner's authorized agent, as provided in subdivision (c).
(3) A person shall not knowingly sell, offer or expose for sale, or transport for sale plant material that is cut or removed in violation of this subdivision.
(b) For purposes of this section, “plant material” means a tree, shrub, fern, herb, bulb, cactus, flower, huckleberry, or redwood green, or a portion of any of those, or the leaf mold on those plants. “Plant material” does not include a tree, shrub, fern, herb, bulb, cactus, flower, or greens declared by law to be a public nuisance.
(c)(1) The written permit required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall be signed by the landowner, or the landowner's authorized agent, and acknowledged before a notary public, or other person authorized by law to take acknowledgments. The permit shall contain the number and species of trees and amount of plant material, and shall contain the legal description of the real property as usually found in deeds and conveyances of the land on which cutting or removal shall take place. One copy of the permit shall be filed in the office of the sheriff of the county in which the land described in the permit is located. The permit shall be filed prior to the commencement of cutting or removal of plant material authorized by the permit.
(2) The permit required by this section need not be notarized or filed with the sheriff when five or less pounds of shrubs or boughs are to be cut or removed.
(d) A county or state fire warden; personnel of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as designated by the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection; personnel of the United States Forest Service, as designated by the Regional Forester, Region 5, of the United States Forest Service; or a peace officer of the State of California, may enforce the provisions of this section and may confiscate any and all plant material unlawfully cut or removed or knowingly sold, offered, or exposed or transported for sale as provided in this section.
(e) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) An employee of the state or of a political subdivision of the state who is engaged in work upon a state, county, or public road or highway while performing work under the supervision of the state or a political subdivision of the state.
(2) A person engaged in the necessary cutting or trimming of plant material for the purpose of protecting or maintaining an electric powerline, telephone line, or other property of a public utility.
(3) A person engaged in logging operations or fire suppression.
(f) A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
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