Noem: “Legalizing hemp will legalize marijuana”

KELOLAND.com Original

This Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, photo shows five acres of hemp that belong to Jonathan Baker, owner of TFP Sciences, in rural Whitewater, Wis. Baker, 29, moved back to Fort Atkinson this year after spending a decade in northern California, where he’d built a life as a cannabis activist and small-scale grower of legal cannabis strains for therapeutic use. (Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is continuing her commitment to block industrial hemp in South Dakota.

In a statement released Tuesday, Noem said despite last week’s USDA guidelines about growing industrial hemp, she still doesn’t support legalizing it in South Dakota.

“I will continue to make the case that legalizing hemp will legalize marijuana by default,” Noem said.

Both marijuana and hemp come from the Cannabis sativa plant.

So, what is the difference between the two?

The difference between

Marijuana

CONTAINS: More than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Hemp

CONTAINS: Less than or equal to 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

What is THC? This is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. This is what causes the high. It has many effects on the brain.

While it is difficult to distinguish the two by just looking at the plants, there are tools law enforcement can use to determine if there is THC.

Virginia is at least one state using field tests that allow officers to tell the difference between the two in just minutes.

As reported by NBC Washington, the device was developed in Switzerland.

The test kits cost $15.

The company does warn “all test results are presumptive and should be confirmed by a laboratory for a quantitative analysis to determine the precise THC concentration of the substance.”

The company claims 80,000 kits have already been sent out.

The Drug Enforcement Agency also has begun using these kits. Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha District Steve Bell said they wouldn’t hold up in court.

“I don’t want to give you a false sense of security. It’s just a presumption,” Bell told KELOLAND News.

The costs can also add up for field or lab tests, according to Bell.

If someone is pulled over with nine plants in their vehicle, nine could be hemp and one could be marijuana. So, authorities have to test each plant.

Noem did acknowledge that the USDA rules do allow for interstate travel.

“My team is working to ensure we have proper procedures in place so this doesn’t become something that weakens our drug laws,” Noem said.

You can read Noem’s full statement below:

USDA’s guidelines are out, but my position on legalizing industrial hemp has not changed. I remain opposed to industrial hemp in South Dakota because of the impact it will have on public safety and law enforcement’s ability to enforce drug laws.

USDA does not preempt a state’s ability to adopt stronger requirements or prohibit production. South Dakota state law prohibits industrial hemp production, and that statute still stands. The guidelines do require the State to permit interstate transportation of hemp. My team is working to ensure we have proper procedures in place so this doesn’t become something that weakens our drug laws.Conversations around hemp will continue, and I will continue to make the case that legalizing hemp will legalize marijuana by default.

Gov. Kristi Noem

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