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Noem vetoes hemp bill

Noem vetoes hemp bill

Governor Noem vetoes bill legalizing industrial hemp production


The Associated Press - March 12, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday vetoed a bill to legalize industrial hemp production in the state, saying it would make law enforcement's job more difficult and could be a first step to eventually legalizing recreational marijuana.

Noem had previously opposed legalizing hemp this year but had not threatened a veto. She raised a host of objections to the bill as it was being drafted.

"There is no question in my mind that normalizing hemp, like legalizing medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to undermine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable," Noem said in a statement along with her veto.

Earlier Monday, the House voted overwhelmingly for the bill and sent it to her. But a 21-14 vote in the Senate fell short of the two-thirds support it would need to override her veto.

At least 41 states have enacted hemp growing and production programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The bill's main sponsor, Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister, has said it would allow South Dakota farmers and ranchers to keep up with the demand and the expansion of the hemp industry.

Noem said she was worried that drug detection dogs flag hemp like marijuana and that the plants look alike. Her administration has said allowing hemp cultivation would come with a multi-million dollar price tag and lead to another push to legalize marijuana in South Dakota.

The 2018 federal farm bill legalized cultivation of industrial hemp nationally. Supporters contend planting hemp wouldn't even happen until 2020 under the South Dakota proposal, which defines industrial hemp as containing no more than 0.3 percent THC.



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