South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has outlined four “guardrails” that the state’s hemp industry must have if she is to sign a bill to legalize the crop. In an Argus Leader op-ed, Noem said that any hemp legislation must include reliable enforcement guidelines, responsible regulation, safe transportation, and adequate funding.
Noem vetoed a hemp legalization bill last year and, at that time, said she was opposed to the reforms because they would legalize cannabis “by default.”
In her recent op-ed, Noem said she vetoed the bill last session because it “didn’t address concerns surrounding public safety, law enforcement, or funding” and that now with U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, a South Dakota tribe getting the go-ahead from the federal government, and bordering states having legalized the crop, the state should move forward with the reforms.
Under Noem’s guardrails, anyone who grows hemp in the state would consent to an inspection by law enforcement and the grower would foot the bill — not only for the inspection but for the disposal of any crop that tests over the legal THC limits, as well.
Noem is also calling for a post-legalization annual statistical report about “the impact decriminalization is having on other criminal drug prosecutions.” Smokable hemp would also have to be outlawed under any hemp legalization measure in order to gain the governor’s approval.
Noem estimates that hemp decriminalization would cost the state about $3.5 million in “one-time and ongoing” costs and she opposes raising taxes to pay for those associated costs.
It’s likely that, with the governor’s provided pathway to legalization, state lawmakers will make another push this session to legalize hemp in the state. In November, voters will decide whether to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis.
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