A house bill that legalizes the growth, production and processing of industrial hemp is now headed to the Senate chambers.
House lawmakers approve legalizing hemp, with only two members voting against the bill.
In 2017, House lawmakers passed a bill authorizing hemp production. That bill stalled in the senate.
Democratic State Representative Oren Lesmeister is the prime sponsor of the bill. This year, he says state department heads and groups are crafting this bill that haven’t before.
“We’ve got industry in South Dakota, now, that’s willing to process hemp,” Lesmeister says. “The federal government has reduced regulation on hemp, itself. That’s the biggest things. Yes, we’ve always passed it out of the house and we’ve had trouble in the senate. This year, working the senate side already, I think we’ve got support over there to get it passed, also.”
Lesmeister says the intent of the bill is to have rules in place for the 2020 growing season.
Last week, Governor Kristi Noem urged lawmakers to delay passing a hemp bill until next year.