Governor Kristi Noem is asking state lawmakers to put a pause on legalizing hemp for production.
Two bills working through the legislature deal with hemp production. Noem says growth is not authorized under any state or federal programs, yet.
Governor Noem, along with the Department of Agriculture are discouraging farmers to plan on growing industrial hemp this year.
She says the state is not ready to produce industrial hemp.
Noem says she would like to wait until next session to consider the issue.
“When we look at concerns that we have there’s unknown costs with how we license these individuals to grow this commodity,” Noem says. “There’s public safety concerns and enforcement activities that need to be dealt with. We do not have a testing system for roadside transportation that could occur, that we could utilize with our public safety officers. We are concerned with what we would do as far as opening up opportunities to start different types of hemp and production across the state, as well.”
Noem says she wants legislators to wait until federal guidelines are available and take a look at them and a better idea of the cost to the state and if the crop is a profitable as is talked about.
“So, right now, passing a bill is really something we’re doing a little bit in the dark.”
Noem says if one of the two bills ARE signed into law, production would not be legal until July first this year, anyway. That’s the middle of the growing season.
She says this announcement is not an indication she will veto the legislation.