S.D. industrial-hemp rules get green light

Capitol News Bureau

(North Dakota Department of Agriculture via AP,File)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s industrial-hemp program will soon be off the ground.

The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee gave final clearance Monday to regulations proposed by two of state government’s departments. The vote was 5-1.

No one testified as an opponent. But watching from the audience was Representative Nancy York, a Watertown Republican who voted against the legislation.

Lawmakers said yes to hemp whose THC content doesn’t exceed 0.3%. Governor Kristi Noem signed the measure into law March 30 after vetoing a somewhat similar bill in 2019.

The state Department of Agriculture received approval of South Dakota’s plan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture before proposing the rules. The state Department of Public Safety also has enforcement roles.

“You have put your hard work in. I realize that this has been a slower process than you had anticipated, but I believe we do things the right way in South Dakota, and the right way is that goes through a formal hearing process. It is not an emergency, and we have it in place, and 20 days from now you can march forward,” Representative Jean Hunhoff, a Yankton Republican who voted twice for the bill, told the group, including members of the new South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association. “And I would hope next legislative session we’re going to hear about the great things that are coming with the hemp products of South Dakota.”

Senator Margaret Sutton, a Sioux Falls Republican, agreed. Sutton also voted for it twice. “The association and the departments, that I understand was a very cooperative effort. There was a lot of hard work going into this. So I too look forward to hearing good news in the future,” she said.

Ken Meyer is association president and vice president of A.H. Meyer and Sons Inc., a beeswax and honey company at Winfred. “Our goal there with hemp is to use the large-scale super-critical CO2 facility that we have to process hemp flowers for CBD oil,” he said.

Katie Sieverding is executive director for the association. “While some of us, I think it is pretty easy to say, that we would have got started, we would have pressed the ‘go’ button back in March before the ink was dry on HB 1008, I think the (state) Department of Agriculture worked hard to get many of the potential wrinkles that the program could have faced ironed out on the front end,” she said.

Sieverding added, “One thing that’s been fascinating for me throughout these last couple of months is learning about all the different products that are out there. Today, I am wearing a pair of hemp socks, actually — very comfortable.”

The rules hearing was on November 13. South Dakota voters meanwhile had already approved a state law legalizing medicinal marijuana and a constitutional amendment legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana in the November 3 elections.

The head of the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Pennington County sheriff have filed a lawsuit supported by Governor Kristi Noem, and financed with state government funds, asking a circuit judge to declare invalid the recreational marijuana vote.

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