South Dakota lawmakers vote to join hemp boom, despite governor’s concerns

South Dakota lawmakers have given hemp production a huge thumbs-up, against the governor’s wishes to table the proposal, to join at least 41 other states with laws allowing hemp cultivation.

The House voted 65-2 Monday to allow hemp farming, a solid rebuke to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who last week asked lawmakers to shelve hemp production for this session.

Noem said South Dakota isn’t ready for hemp production, contending questions remain about enforcement, taxpayer costs and effects on public safety.

The measure now heads to the South Dakota Senate. If approved, the law would take effect July 1.

Neighboring North Dakota reported 2,778 acres of hemp grown in 2018, making it the nation’s seventh-largest producer, according to advocacy group Vote Hemp.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized hemp production outside state pilot projects but the law is unclear whether a state may ban production.

For states that take no action on hemp, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with crafting oversight rules to ensure farmers are growing hemp and not marijuana.

– Associated Press and Hemp Industry Daily