Lawmakers plan to start study of industrial hemp in South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Legislature’s interim committee on the potential costs associated with possibly legalizing industrial hemp in South Dakota begins its work July 11.

The panel meets at 9 a.m. CT in room 414 of the state’s Capitol. House Republican leader Lee Qualm of Platte was chosen as chairman to lead the group of seven representatives and four senators.

Republican Governor Kristi Noem strongly opposed the 2019 legislation. She spoke against it several times and sent Cabinet members and top aides to testify against it. Unable to stop the measure, HB 1191, Noem ultimately vetoed it.

The governor said her administration wasn’t yet ready to regulate it and federal rules wouldn’t be in place until November at the earliest. She  had voted for the 2018 federal Farm Bill that contained language letting states legalize its growth as an agricultural crop.

Representative Oren Lesmeister, a Democrat from Parade, was prime sponsor of the legislation. It won approval 21-14 in the Senate and final approval 58-8 in the House. The Senate needed 24 ayes to override the veto but came up with 20.

Lesmeister is on the study committee. So are House supporters Sean Bordeaux, D-Mission; Tim Goodwin, R-Rapid City; and Randy Gross, R-Elkton; and Senate supporters Red Dawn Foster, D-Pine Ridge; Joshua Klumb, R-Mount Vernon; and Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls. Qualm also supported the bill.

Opponents on the panel are its vice chair, Senator Rocky Blare, R-Ideal; and House members Bob Glanzer, R-Huron; and Nancy York, R-Watertown.

The committee’s assignment is to study the regulation and cost of implementing an industrial hemp program in South Dakota.

The lawmakers will look at the potential financial effects from production and sale of industrial hemp, as well as potential costs or challenges for law enforcement.

The Legislature’s Executive Board also wants the panel to consider requirements for registration, licenses, permits, seed certification and access.

You can read the final version of the Lesmeister bill at:

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