Update: South Dakota House approves industrial hemp legalization measures

Update: South Dakota House approves industrial hemp legalization measures

Those following the Nothing But Hemp blog in recent weeks are sure to be aware of the prospect that South Dakota may legalize industrial hemp this legislative session.

Tuesday, the South Dakota House of Representatives voted to pass its proposal on hemp legalization in a state that has shown hesitancy toward hemp products under the supervision of Gov. Kristi Noem, who has shown herself to be rather hawkish against the crop.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the bill emphasizes “guardrails” and a strict adherence to 0.3% THC levels within the plants. THC is the intoxicating component in marijuana and cannabis. [1]

In many other states, potentially “hot” hemp crops with higher levels of THC have greater leeway and grace tolerances, whereby entire harvests won’t be destroyed unless they test far above the legal limit.

Such lenience is not to be expected from any final bill signed by Noem, but the House bill is certainly a step in the right direction.

The bill’s sponsor Rep. Lee Qualm, R-Platte, told the Baltimore Sun the bill still has funding controversies amounting to as much as $3.5 million before being passed, but he wanted to start out the House version with momentum. [1]

MSN reports that most of that budget would derive from the added need to test massive quantities of hemp cultivated to ensure it is legal, especially given the number of farmers interested in such a legalization program. [2]

Multiple Indian tribes are also interested in growing hemp if it were legalized in South Dakota, which Rep Herman Otten, R — Lennox, would join interstate hemp trade as a reason the state should invest in testing equipment. [2]

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. [3]

“I did not take money out of [budgeted] programs to put into a hemp program,” Noem told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “Now, if the legislators want to do that and move money to prioritize this, then that is the legislative process.” [3]


[1] https://www.baltimoresun.com/marijuana/sns-house-vote-industrial-hemp-legalization-south-dakota-20200214-zzkkfrcep5bm5eozlmes6p7lui-story.html

[2] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/hemp-bill-approved-by-south-dakota-house-committee-with-governor-e2-80-99s-support/ar-BBZJyvm

[3] https://www.nothingbuthemp.net/post/south-dakota-hemp-bill-moves-forward-through-committee