What a difference a season makes. In 2019, South Dakota lawmakers passed a bill to legalize industrial plants, simply to observe that the measure vetoed from the state’s Republican Senate. Now, together with the governor turning course, a fresh hemp statement seems poised to become legislation. 

On Tuesday, members of the South Dakota House of Representatives passed a proposition to legalize and regulate the development, processing, and transport of hemp. The bipartisan bill passed with overwhelming support, progressing on a 54-12 vote. It moves into the state Senate, where it’s also predicted to pass, finally arriving at the desk of Gov. Kristi Noem, who’s expected to finish her turnabout about the problem by signing the bill.

Governor Noem’s Anti-Hemp Stance

In past year’s session, Noem, who had been elected sheriff in 2018, vetoed a bill to industrialize hemp, asserting it would be a gateway into legal bud. She revealed her opposition past summer, writing in the Wall Street Journal that she’d veto any prospective hemp steps that arrive on her desk.

“When I was sworn in as South Dakota’s governor in January, opposing industrial plants and marijuana legalization weren’t in my list of important problems,” she wrote. “But throughout the first legislative session of my tenure, I vetoed a measure to legalize industrial hemp. If the problem comes up this season, I’ll veto it .”

Her objections puzzled many in the country, such as Republicans in the legislature who endorsed the measure. Noem’s resistance was peculiar given that, as a congresswoman, she hunted for its 2018 national Farm Bill that permitted countries to legalize industrial hemp. The editorial board of Agweek criticized Noem’s intransigence on the matter, stating that she’d”taken a public place which certainly works against South Dakota agriculture”

“It is widely known in ag circles which industrial plants, which is quite distinct from bud, is ideal for marginal property,” the editorial stated. “It is widely known in ag circles which industrial plants possibly could create profits for its hard-pressed South Dakota ag operators farming that property.”

However, from the beginning of this season, Noem stated she was prepared to lose her opposition to hemp, although she indicated she has misgivings.

“I wanted to be very palms-up together with the Legislature,” Noem told local tv channel KELO in January. “I don’t believe this is a superb thought for South Dakota, but I understand they’re seeking a solution.” 

The new bill that passed the House this week may need all hemp plants to be analyzed for THC.