March 12, 2019
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has vetoed a bill that would have made it legal to cultivate industrial hemp in the state.
In a statement Monday, Noem says she rejected the legislation mainly because it would make it more difficult for law enforcement. Noem has said she’s worried that drug detection dogs flag hemp like marijuana and that the plants look alike, making it difficult for authorities to determine what is legal and what is not.
She also says that legalization of hemp cultivation could lead to medical marijuana and eventually legalization of recreational use of marijuana in South Dakota. She said the state should focus on other issues until the federal government sorts out its policy on marijuana.
The bill in the state Senate fell short of the two-thirds support it would need to override her veto.
The House voted 58-8 Monday to send the bill to the Republican governor. Noem had requested that lawmakers hold off on legalizing hemp this year, saying questions remain about enforcement, taxpayer costs and effects on public safety.
The bill’s main sponsor, Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister of Parade, has said it would allow South Dakota farmers and ranchers to keep up with the demand and the expansion of the hemp industry.