Industrial hemp and CBD oil are now legal in South Dakota after a yearlong standoff between Gov. Kristi Noem and legislators.
Noem signed House Bill 1008 into law on Friday, and it goes goes into effect immediately. The bill includes $3.5 million in funding to set up the state’s industrial hemp program, though funding is subject to change as Noem has called for a special session in June to address the budget in the wake of the coronavirus.
Producers must wait to grow hemp until the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved South Dakota’s hemp program, which legislators estimated could occur as late as June.
Noem and legislators said the industrial hemp bill would be passed within the first couple of weeks of the 2020 legislative session, but it was instead the last bill passed in the Legislature after it was used in negotiations on other bills throughout the final week.
The passage into law comes a year after Noem and legislators began their dispute over legalizing hemp. Legislators passed the bill in 2019 despite Noem’s calls to wait until the state was ready for it, but then they were unable to override Noem’s veto of the 2019 hemp bill. Legislators then spent the interim studying the issue to ready a bill for the 2020 session, but Noem continued to say she opposed hemp, writing in a Wall Street Journal column in September that she planned to veto the bill in the 2020 session.
But Noem announced in January that she would consider signing the industrial hemp bill if it contained four “guardrails” of reliable enforcement, responsible regulation, safe transportation and adequate funding.
Legislators and Noem had vastly different pictures of the amount of funding needed to set up a state hemp program, with state agencies requesting $3.5 million and the Legislative Research Council telling legislators that it would take about $245,000. But in the end, legislators gave Noem the $3.5 million she requested.
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