Longtime hemp critic launches national attack, saying plant won’t help farmers

A South Dakota politician who opposes hemp cultivation is taking her argument national just as federal agriculture authorities are expected to release national production rules.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem wrote in a column published in The Wall Street Journal that many states have legalized hemp to as a savior for struggling farmers but that “hemp isn’t that crop.”

She also argues that law enforcement is being strained in states with legal hemp cultivation by the inability to differentiate hemp from THC-bearing marijuana.

Noem vetoed a hemp-cultivation bill earlier this year and has long argued against the crop’s legalization, saying it is a move toward legalizing marijuana.

Hemp was made legal nationwide in the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized cannabis varieties with no more than 0.3% THC.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was charged with writing a framework for telling the difference between hemp and marijuana. Those rules have not yet been released.

The Farm Bill gives states the right to ban hemp cultivation if they wish. But at least 47 states have authorized cultivation, either in limited testing programs or by allowing commercial cultivation.

Only Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota allow no forms of hemp cultivation or experimentation. Several more states have authorized hemp production but not until after the USDA sets national rules for growing it.

20 comments on “Longtime hemp critic launches national attack, saying plant won’t help farmers
  1. Mike Wedl on

    She certainly misses some points such as the hundreds of uses for hemp in multiple fields. Also, law enforcement officials know farms grow hemp and suffice it to say, if it’s growing in an open field and if the plant doesn’t look like marijuana (industrial hemp doesn’t look the same) it’s not marijuana. Police aren’t stupid. Too bad she finds herself to be smarter than the rest by vetoing in her state and condemning the 48 states who disagree with her.

    • John on

      Industrial hemp grown for CBD production does look like marijuana. It’s the same plant, but just one set of genetics have lots of thc and one doesn’t.

        • zach on

          industrial hemp isn’t grown for CBD production, its grown for textile applications, food, oils etc, but not CBD or THC — the content in the “industrial” version is too low. Industrial hemp is the male species of the plant. You need flowering female buds genetically predisposed to producing CBD rather than THC in our current market. “CBD” plants look just like “THC” plants, which causes problems for law enforcement.

          Industrial hemp has almost non-existent THC levels, very low CBD levels and over 25000 different applications. Male plants don’t produce flowers. They cannot get you high. They cannot be used for CBD. Its an entirely different discussion from the emerging cannabis market that we have seen the past few years. Its a 10-15 ft bamboo looking plant with a stalk like an adolescent tree. The only common resemblance across the species is its leaf shape.

          Its really frustrating to see the lack of education on this topic, especially from elected officials. This plant could help millions of people and lift the US out of our impending, severe, economic crisis.

  2. Chad Dore on

    Pretty typical Republican. Loves Jesus, oil, and big business, hates the environment, the government, women, the poor, the sick, gays and non-whites.

  3. Ray on

    The head of the Republican Party Mitch McConnell said: “At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future. My provision in the farm bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.”

    Maybe it’s time that the South Dakota farmers give Gov. Noem a call, tell the police to stand down and start making some hemp money for South Dakota.

    I love the American hemp farmer, we all should <3

  4. asparagus on

    I think if your only concern is the legalizing of weed you need some good weed to smoke and chill out. Hemp is something that could benefit millions of people now. To over-regulate and outlaw hemp would just add to the incredible short-sidedness that got it banned in the first place. Seriously, that governor needs to find a job shoveling manure on a pig farm.

  5. james m damiano on

    I hope she reads this she needs to do some homework of her own someone said she will be a 1 term gov. I believe it just killing plastic alone will help all homsapiens if she knows what they are

  6. Charlie Atkins on

    This Governor is setting her state back. She is assuring that her state will be dead last in producing jobs, tax money, and spurring growth and innovation in the hemp industry. She needs to understand that progress waits for no one, especially in a competitive environment. The States that recognizes the many benefits of hemp are going to eat her State’s lunch.
    If not being able to tell the difference between hemp and cannabis is her main issue: WHY NOT WORK ON MSKING A PORTABLE TEST KIT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT and /or ESTABLISH A LAB THERE FOR THAT PURPOSE????
    Smokable hemp products should also be allowed for adults who wish to smoke low THC hemp.

  7. Richard Jones on

    Gov. Kristi Noem has the political courage to tell the truth. It’s a rare person, especially in politics, to side with the research and realities on an issue going against well-funded lobbyist and naive popular opinion to protect the health and safety of her state.

    • John Strohfus on

      How do? We are largest MN grower. In 4 years of growing in MN I don’t think anyone would say MN has had a reduction in public safety or increase in illegal drug use. All of the arguments she states have established mitigation steps in place that pilot states since 2014 have developed. John Strohfus Founder & CEO http://www.mnhempfarms.com

    • Brian Ochsner on

      She’s repeating lies from the 1930s. Hemp is a valuable and versatile crop with thousands of uses, and was banned because a machine called a decorticator was invented. This would have allowed paper from hemp to be made cheaper than paper from trees, which was a threat to William Randolph Hearst’s business empire.

      The LaGuardia Committee report in 1944 (titled the Marihuana Problem in the City of New York) concluded that cannabis was not addictive, and use was not a problem in NYC.

      Opioids and alcohol are much more toxic and addictive than cannabis.

  8. Alison Wasson on

    I am from South Dakota and I am ashamed to say it! We have always been behind in the times so to say! It seems our government bodies in South Dakota would rather stay dead last than start to improve and progress as stated in an earlier comment progress waits for no one and here we are still trying to stay dead last ????

    • RJ Meyer on

      She is a great embarrassment to the State of South Dakota. Nobody has the right to tell other earthlings that they are not allowed access to a God-given plant. Her arguments are flawed and immoral. We all have a natural born right to grow hemp or cannabis and control freaks making nature illegal and inaccessible are immoral.

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