South Dakota hemp bill advances with governor’s support

A South Dakota legislative committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bill to allow industrial hemp production in the state.

The proposal, which passed in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee, would legalize and regulate the growth, processing and transportation of hemp in the state.

Passage would leave Idaho and Mississippi as the only states with no hemp-production laws on the books.

The South Dakota bill’s advancement to the House floor marked progress on an issue that divided legislators and Gov. Kristi Noem last year.

The Republican governor vetoed a bill in 2019 that would have allowed industrial hemp production.

She originally vowed to veto again this year because she says hemp legalization could lead to the legalization of marijuana, but she changed her mind just before the session began.

House Republican Leader Lee Qualm introduced this year’s bill and expects it to pass in the state House of Representatives.

– Associated Press and Hemp Industry Daily