May 27, 2021

Dacha Contraband


Dacha Contraband
The only thing dangerous about parsley is that it can sometimes get caught in your teeth.  Photograph by Hanna Stolt via unsplash.com

With summer arriving in earnest and countless dachas being opened up across Russia, gardeners are perplexed about what they can and cannot plant. While the Russian government has tried to ban some pretty incredible things in the past, the federal government's recent ban on parsley growing has many confused. 

The good news is that the herb itself isn't illegal (home chefs can breathe a sigh of relief). What can get backyard farmers into trouble is growing the plant with the purpose of harvesting its seeds and producing oil, which can apparently be harmful to humans. 

Creating parsley oil can lead to significant criminal penalties: up to R40,000 (about $550 USD), 480 hours of community service labor, and even prison time. (We can't help wondering, would authorities then garnish the offender's wages?)

A similar issue occurred previously, when Russians realized they could be fined for growing common wild herbs such as dandelions and chamomile. Officials clarified that they would only enforce such laws in cases of garden neglect. 

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