South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a bill to legalize industrial hemp production in the state on Monday, stating it would complicate the job of law enforcement and possibly become a first-step toward legalizing recreational marijuana.
The final version of the bill overwhelmingly passed the House 58-8 on Monday. However, the bill passed the Senate 21-14, which would fall short of the two-thirds majority required to override the governor’s veto.
Noem claims that the bill’s primary focus was not the benefit of hemp farmers, but rather the growing commercial interest in the manufacture of CBD.
The 2018 federal farm bill, passed in December, legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp nationally, and defines hemp the same way as the failed South Dakota bill. Noem said, “[u]ntil the USDA issues its own rules, the regular growth and interstate transport of hemp cannot begin.”
Under section 10113 of the 2018 Farm Bill, state departments of agriculture must consult with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to devise a plan that must then be submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture. A sate plan to license and regulate hemp can only begin once USDA approves the plan. In states that do not create a hemp regulatory program, USDA will establish a regulatory program under which hemp cultivators in those states must apply for licenses and comply with a federally-run program. USDA is in the process of drafting regulations consistent with this provision.