South Dakota sends hemp legislation to governor’s desk

Coming in hot at the end of the legislative session, state lawmakers in South Dakota sent an industrial hemp bill to Gov. Kristi Noem to sign after clearing the proposal to legalize hemp production and develop a state plan on Thursday.

Noem has indicated she will sign the bill, which includes the $3.5 million budget that the governor insisted is necessary to run the hemp program effectively. Her plan earmarks $1.9 million to start the program with $1.6 million to run it annually.

After vetoing hemp legislation last year, Noem agreed to legalize hemp production for the 2020 season, with the caveat that legislation include four “guardrails”:
  • enforcement
  • regulation
  • transportation
  • funding

The main hold-up that had legislators working late into the session was Noem’s funding request, which they thought was more than necessary. Ultimately, lawmakers met the governor’s number, saying the money could be returned to the state’s general fund if unused.

With Noem’s signature, the legislation would take immediate effect, so the state can submit its hemp production plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval, a process that could take up to 60 days. South Dakota is currently one of three states where hemp production is illegal, along with Mississippi and Idaho.

– Associated Press and Hemp Industry Daily