The state of South Dakota was on track to legalize hemp and it’s CBD derived products. House Bill 1191 unanimously passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee on February 7th. HB 1191 went on to pass in the House by a 65 -2 vote in its original form. Soon HB 1191 moved into the Senate and a amended version was approved by a vote of 21 – 4 on March 6th. The amended version went back to the House and passed by a margin of 58 – 8.
On the evening of March 11th just after a few hours of passage, South Dakota Governor (R) Kristi Noem vetoed House Bill 1191. She called HB 1191 “premature” and wanted to wait for Federal guidelines before state legalization. In her veto letter Governor Noem says “…this bill supports a national effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use,” citing an “overwhelming number” of proponents of the bill being “pro-marijuana activists.”
Prior to being Governor of South Dakota, then Congresswoman Noem voted in favor of the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp on the federal level back in December 2018. She now states, “There is no question in my mind the normalizing of hemp, like the legalization of medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to under-mine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable.”
Hemp and marijuanna are not the same. They are both strains of the cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains the high levels of THC which will get you high. Hemp is not a drug and does not contain enough THC to induce the psychoactive effects. Despite these proven facts, Governor Noem issues arise from the close relationship between hemp and marijuana. Points of emphasis are that THC can produce a high if smoked or ingested. CBD Oil can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana.
Noem says in her veto that HB 1191 “…is less about helping farmers and more about commercial interest I one product: CBD.” Back in February of this year Senate Bill 22 would have put controlled substances in compliance with federal law but would also made all CBD Oil from hemp and marijuanna a controlled substance. Ultimately the bill was re-written by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Only the marijuana-derived CBD Oil drug Epidiolex was scheduled as a controlled substance. SB 22 was signed into law by Governor Noem on February 19th.
By only addressing the drug Epidiolex in SB 22, the passage of HB 1191 would have legalized hemp derived CBD Oil. Governor Noem pointed out key issues that would have aroused from the passage of HB 1191:
- Law enforcement could have difficulty distinguishing between hemp and marijuana plants.
- It could cause issues for South Dakota ingestion laws that states if THC is present in a person’s system they can be found guilty of felony marijuana ingestion. The courts may not be able to determine if THC found in a person’s system was from hemp or marijuana.
“As Governor, I will not leave it to our courts to interpret how HB1191 impacts our prohibition on the active ingredient in marijuana…,” Noem says in her veto letter. “[Hemp legalization] was never ripe for discussion…, South Dakota must stand as an example for the rest of the country, not simply go along with others. Our State is not yet ready for industrial hemp.”
Unfortunately, at this time it does not appear there will be enough votes to overide the veto.
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