Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Governor and lawmakers disagree on costs of legalizing hemp

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers and Gov. Kristi Noem floated vastly different cost estimates for legalizing industrial hemp.

It presents a final hang-up to the resolution of their year-long dispute.

The governor’s office argued that industrial hemp would make it necessary to change how the state enforces its marijuana laws.

It would require an expansion of staff, drug testing and law enforcement across three state agencies.

Lawmakers cast it as an agricultural program similar to other crops that would require oversight by one person and part-time testing by law enforcement.

Noem has said she would allow industrial hemp this year, but only if it meets her requirements which including funding for the program.

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Jerek Dufner

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