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Legislators sustain Noem's veto on bill revising industrial hemp rules

Lee Strubinger

An effort to override Gov. Kristi Noem's veto of a bill revising certain rules for industrial hemp came up short Monday.

House Bill 1209 would have provided licensed state hemp processors with a greater delta-9 THC percentage allowance while processing state or federally approved hemp products.

Proponents of the bill said the revision of shifting from 0.3 percent THC level to a 5 percent in industrial hemp simply makes it easier for processing.

Rep. Oren Lesmeister was the prime sponsor of the bill. He said the revisions outlined in the bill would not provide higher THC content to the end consumer.

“What this bill does not do, I will say it again, does not do, is allow products to be sold at five percent, they have to be below the 0.3 percent. The only time a product in process can spike up to possibly five percent is during that extraction of oil or CBD," said Lesmeister. "Prior to that, even that plant coming out of the field has to be tested below 0.3 percent.” 

Opponents of the bill said that the people of South Dakota have already spoken against legalizing recreational marijuana.

Rep. Mary Fitzgerald spoke in favor of sustaining the governor’s veto. She said HB 1209 is not a good law for South Dakota.

“There are only two states in the United States that allow a product in process to contain up to five percent THC, and that’s that pesky Colorado and the state of New York. Both of those states have legalized recreational marijuana. This is not a good bill, it is not beneficial to South Dakota and I would ask you to vote no, sustain the veto, and let's protect South Dakota,” said Fitzgerald.

With a 32 to 35 vote in the House, the bill did not receive the two-thirds majority votes needed to overturn the veto.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.
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