SD Senate next stop for bill to legalize industrial hemp in the state

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Senate could give final legislative approval Wednesday to legalizing industrial hemp in South Dakota.

Forty-seven other states already have some sort of programs.

A Senate panel endorsed HB 1008 Tuesday morning.

The House already has passed it. It would require hemp to have no more than three-tenths of one percent of THC, the ingredient that makes people feel high.

Last year, Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a similar concept. This year she’s on board.

Senator Joshua Klumb, R-Mount Vernon, spoke first to the committee Tuesday.

Next came Representative Oren Lesmeister, D-Parade, who sponsored the bill last year.

Third was Ken Meyer, vice president of A.H. Meyer and Sons, a business at Winfred near Madison that plans to expand if it gets a processing license.

Katie Hruska, a lawyer for the governor, explained that Noem blocked it last year.

Doug Abraham, a lobbyist for the South Dakota Retailers, said the proposed law would clear a murky situation for businesses on whether they can sell CBD products.

Senator Bob Ewing, R-Spearfish, voted against the bill last year but voted for the 2020 version Tuesday.

State Public Safety Secretary Craig Price, whose responsibilities include the South Dakota Highway Patrol and motor carrier enforcement, said his department could have handled matters with its current staff if had to oversee only tribal hemp.

The Legislature is still working to come up with the approximately $3.5 million that Governor Noem has estimated the program will cost for start-up and ongoing costs for the coming year.

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