Feds OK South Dakota industrial hemp plan

Capitol News Bureau
Governor Noem 1, Industrial Hemp 0: Senate Falls Short Trying To Overcome Her Veto

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially approved South Dakota’s plan for industrial hemp, the next step will be adopting emergency rules.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture announced the USDA decision Friday afternoon. Derek Schiefelbein is the state’s industrial-hemp program manager. He said Friday that South Dakota’s program would be ready for the 2021 growing season.

The new law allows growing, producing and transporting hemp that has no more than 0.3% THC. USDA wants South Dakota to change several parts of the law regarding state inspection of a grower’s plot, rule-making and testing. Taya Runyan, the department’s agricultural-services director, said those would be attempted in the 2021 legislative session. 

Governor Kristi Noem vetoed legislation that state lawmakers passed in 2019, saying it would lead to legalization of marijuana. The Republican governor agreed to a revised version this year, after lawmakers agreed to provide several millions dollars of funding she wanted.

Voters meanwhile have been casting ballots this fall on a proposed South Dakota constitutional amendment to allow recreational marijuana and a proposed law to allow medicinal marijuana.

The non-partisan Legislative Research Council estimates the tax provisions and changes in incarceration proposed in the constitutional amendment could combine for a net $60 million gain for state government’s budget through the 2024 budget year.

Six tribal governments with land in South Dakota already had USDA-approved plans for low-THC hemp: Cheyenne River Sioux, Flandreau Santee Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and Standing Rock Sioux. The Yankton Sioux tribal government is developing a plan for USDA review.

Among South Dakota’s neighboring states, only North Dakota doesn’t have a fully approved industrial-hemp plan.

There are sample license forms near the end of South Dakota’s industrial hemp plan.

This is a developing story.

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