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Senate fails to override Noem's veto on industrial hemp

Senate fails to override Noem's veto on industrial hemp

Senate fails to muster two-thirds majority to override Noem veto on hemp

The Associated Press & News Staff - March 12, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. - An attempt to override South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's veto of a hemp legalization bill has failed in the Legislature.

The 20-13 Senate vote Tuesday was short of the two-thirds needed to overcome Noem's veto. It came after the House easily voted to override Noem earlier in the day.

Senate Democratic leader Troy Heinert, a supporter, says the bill was right for South Dakota's producers and residents who want to use, grow and manufacture the product. He says they need to listen to the people that elected them.

"I ask the members of the body, listen to your constitutents. Put the trust in the people that we have in those place to handle these issues. We are smart enough to do this."

Bill Sponsor Senator Jordan Youngberg of Madison says the details can be worked out.

"I understand the concern from the Governor, but just like every other bill that passes out of here, you know, with the rule making authority and the option she has, she can work through this, not have the issues, and we then go, and we can bring this back in January if we have tweaks."

The failure in the Senate came after the House voted to override the veto. Representatives voted 55-11 Tuesday to override Noem.

The bill's main sponsor, Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister, asked representatives again to stand behind the bill.

Noem said Monday that "normalizing" hemp is part of a bigger strategy to make legal marijuana inevitable. But, South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says that argument doesn’t make any sense.

"First of all, I think the pharmaceuticals are really pulling her strings and some of the commodity groups are afraid of losing some acres. I really believe that is part of the issue as well. She's got her friends and she's looking out for them. and they're not family farmers."

Furthermore, Sombke says he can’t understand how Noem could have supported Industrial Hemp while she was in Congress and then change her tuned as Governor and oppose it.

"Someone that has been so strong about local government taking control and federal government getting out of our lives, she wants to wait until FDA tells us what to do. I just don't understand that when farmers are struggling right now. We're just looking to give them an opportunity to see if it works for them."

Sombke says there haven't been any problems with industrial hemp  in North Dakota.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 41 states have enacted hemp growing and production programs.

The 2018 federal farm bill legalized cultivation of industrial hemp nationally.

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