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Hemp driver arrested in South Dakota, against federal guidance


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A Coloradan driver on a delivery run for a hemp company and was recently arrested in South Dakota for transporting the substance.


The incident occurred last month, when a truck hauling $22,500 worth of hemp and CBD was stopped July 16 for breaking the speed limit. Police found the his cargo, confiscated it and arrested him because the crop isn’t legal in the state. [2]


South Dakota authorities are prosecuting the unnamed driver for marijuana violations because the hemp products contained THC, which is to be expected in trace amounts within all full-spectrum CBD products and industrial hemp.


According to reports, 300 pounds of hemp flower were confiscated by the police. The driver faces a possible Class 3 Felony charge which could lead to up to 10 years in prison. [1]

Police have had difficulties finding lab spaces to test the 292 pounds of remaining hemp for THC content.


However, the consequences for the man seem to be entirely against federal law, and industry groups are pushing to make sure the charges are dropped in the face of such a blatant police overreach.


According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel issued a memo back in may stating that it was unlawful under the 2018 Farm Bill to prosecute or stop interstate transportation of hemp products. [2]


"We expect to see the charges against the driver dropped, hemp legalized in South Dakota, and more legal clarity at a federal level to ensure good people making an honest living in the hemp industry are able to do so without fear of legal action taken against them without cause," said Minnesota Hemp Association Executive Director Joe Radinovich. [1]


More recently, South Dakota lawmakers met with counterparts from Montana and North Dakota Monday to discuss considerations about legalizing hemp at the state level. [3]


Both Montana and North Dakota have legalized industrial hemp, and the surge of new planting could well offer a boon to struggling agriculture in South Dakota.


Earlier this year, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a proposal to legalize industrial hemp. Forty-seven states in the U.S. have legalized the crop. [1]


“Legalizing the growing of industrial hemp has been part of our policy since 2018, because our family farmers and ranchers need new opportunities. And industrial hemp is a new, potentially high-value opportunity,” said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. [3]


Sources

[1] https://www.postbulletin.com/agrinews/news/midwest/usda-said-states-can-t-block-hemp-drivers-so-what/article_5930ac04-c385-11e9-8bc7-e3b1670297a2.html

[2] https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2019/08/20/minnesota-industrial-hemp-arrested-south-dakota-gov-kristi-noem/2056341001/

[3] https://apnews.com/6a406f2235a94abea255e157a536e9f8

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