South Dakota hemp bill moves forward through committee

South Dakota hemp bill moves forward through committee

The battle to legalize industrial hemp and CBD in the state of South Dakota has so far been fought uphill, but this week has seen progress in what has been one of the most reticent parts of the country to adopt hemp legislation.

Last year, despite the federal legalization of industrial hemp crops and the popularization of their cannabis derivatives across the country, South Dakota held out, refusing to pass laws to allow the crops and substances in its jurisdiction. Now, reforms show renewed promise as a bill in the House of Representatives has left committee with the approval of Republican Governor, Kristi Noem.

House Bill 1008 would legalize industrial hemp cultivation in one of the most important agricultural states in the union. [1]

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, attempts to pass similar legislation last year failed to Gov. Noem’s veto, but H.B. 1008 left the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee this week with her go-ahead. [1]

The Boston Globe reports Noem was clear in her desire to see any possible CBD or hemp cultivation program in the state hemmed in on four key points: Regulation, enforcement, permits for transport and funding. [2]

"I'm hopeful that we get to a point where there's a bill that responsibly addresses the program, and then I'll consider signing it," Noem told the Argus Leader. [1]

A change in South Dakota’s attitude toward hemp would have major consequences, as it has shown to be one of the more hostile states when it comes to hemp and CBD enforcement.

At least 47 states legalized industrial hemp in 2019 after the federal move to legalize it came in December 2018. Regulations within these legalization bills vary. [3]

Last July, South Dakota police arrested a driver from Colorado who was hauling 300 pounds of hemp flower and other products through the state, an activity the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture previously announced should go unpunished by state governments and law enforcement. [3]

That seized inventory is worth $22,500 and the driver in question faced up to 10 years imprisonment on a felony drug trafficking charge, despite the federally-legal status of the hemp. [3]

Ultimately, Noem said the main barriers to her approval of the new bill are the four “guardrails” listed above and the funding of any potential hemp project. [1]

“I did not take money out of [budgeted] programs to put into a hemp program,” Noem told the Argus Leader. “Now, if the legislators want to do that and move money to prioritize this, then that is the legislative process.” [1]