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Noem Outlines "Guard-Rails" For Hemp Legalization

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Governor Kristi Noem is indicating she’s willing to work with state lawmakers on an industrial hemp bill this coming session.

Noem wants lawmakers to consider what she calls “four guardrails.” Those include enforcement standards... regulations on licensing, reporting and inspections… a plan for safe transportation… and a funding plan.

Republican State Senator Rocky Blare was a co-chair on the industrial hemp study this summer, which is recommending a hemp bill. He says most of Noem’s request is in the legislation.

“Unless she points out something that we’ve missed, I think it’s pretty well put together with the guardrails she was looking for, contained in our new proposal for 2020.” Blare says.

Blare says the biggest hurdle is figuring out the upfront cost for a hemp program.

Since the middle of the 2019 session, Noem has been staunchly opposed to legalizing hemp cultivation.

In a September op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Noem indicated she would veto hemp legislation that reached her desk in 2020. The USDA announced hemp cultivation rules in October.

Noem says things have changed with the arrival of federal guidelines, a legislative summer study and the Flandreau Sandee Sioux tribe getting a green light on cultivation.

Noem says other state’s actions mean South Dakota needs to address hemp transportation through the state.