South Dakota hemp crop possible for 2020 after legalization clears House

The South Dakota House voted Tuesday to legalize and regulate the growth, processing and transportation of industrial hemp in the state.

Legislators didn’t even debate the bill, which passed with a two-thirds majority. The measure next be considered by the South Dakota Senate.

If that body also passes the legislation with a two-thirds majority and Gov. Kristi Noem signs it into law, an emergency clause would allow it to go into effect immediately, possibly allowing South Dakota farmers to grow hemp this year.

The Republican governor has said she doesn’t believe hemp is a “good idea” and would prefer that South Dakota remain one of three states that don’t allow industrial hemp. The two others are Idaho and Mississippi.

But Noem relented shortly before the session began, and her office helped craft the bill to ensure it meets her desired “guardrails” that provide for its enforcement, regulation, transportation permitting, and funding.

– Associated Press