PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Industrial hemp became legal in South Dakota when Governor Kristi Noem signed the emergency measure March 27. More than 100 days later, her administration is getting closer to submitting a program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider for approval.
State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman JaCee Aaseth said Thursday that South Dakota sent a preliminary version for USDA to look over. She also said state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s office provided feedback on it this week.
Those perspectives will be reflected in the revised version, according to Aaseth. But any hope farmers had to plant this growing season likely has passed.
“The (department) is working to finalize the plan for submission, staff the program, and continue to work on drafting administrative rules. At this time, there is not a specific target date to start accepting applications,” Aaseth said in an email to KELOLAND News.
The legislation requires various administrative rules from three state departments: Agriculture, Health and Public Safety. None have been proposed yet. Those typically take several months from start to finish.
Meanwhile, at least six tribal governments with land in South Dakota, as well as all six of South Dakota’s neighboring states, have received the federal government’s go-ahead to grow, process and transport industrial hemp and related products that have no more than three-tenths of 1% of THC.
Nationally, 43 states are operating under plans that were developed either in 2014, when USDA first administered a pilot program for industrial hemp or in the past year, after Congress in the 2018 farm bill fully legalized hemp with a THC content of no more than three-tenths of 1%.
More than 30 tribal governments throughout the country have received USDA approval of their plans, including these with land in South Dakota:
A seventh, the Yankton Sioux tribal government, was drafting a plan, according to USDA’s May 27 national list.
South Dakota voters in November will decide yes or no on two marijuana-legalization measures. Both came from citizens’ petition drives.
Constitutional Amendment A would legalize recreational marijuana for people 18 and older, and charge a 15% state tax.
Initiated Measure 26 would legalize medical use of marijuana for people with valid registration cards.
Governor Noem vetoed industrial-hemp legislation in 2019, saying it would open the door to efforts to legalize marijuana.