HomeNewsNoem Nixes Higher Hemp THC Hopes

Noem Nixes Higher Hemp THC Hopes

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has drawn a line in the sand on raising permitted THC levels of hemp products in process.

By legal definition at a US federal level, hemp is cannabis that has not more than .3% delta-9 THC by dry weight.  During processing, THC levels can temporarily increase; but finished retail products remain at .3% THC maximum. Still, this creates some potential legal problems as during the processing stage this hemp could be considered marijuana.

Various states have approached the situation in different ways. For example, in South Dakota, an upper limit of 1% is allowed during processing. But  under House Bill 1209 the amount of THC permitted under this specific circumstance would have been further raised, and significantly:

“the product being processed by a state licensed hemp processor or the transfer of that product at no higher than five percent total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol between one or more licensed hemp processors during the process of processing state or federally approved, lab-tested biomass from a licensed grower into a finished industrial hemp product.”

The change did not fly with South Dakota’s Governor. In her veto letter, Governor Noem stated:

“House Bill 1209 would jeopardize the effectiveness and safety of our industrial hemp program by creating conflict with federal law while also allowing marijuana products to be considered hemp products.”

But doesn’t the 1% compromise implemented last year still do the same? Governor Noem justifies the wriggle room by stating the 1% level is the threshold at which THC can trigger psychotropic effects in humans. The governor also believes that by allowing a 5% level, this would jeopardize the will of the South Dakota people.

“South Dakota voters spoke clearly this past November: they do not want recreational marijuana.”

… even though this wasn’t what the increase would have been about.

While California and New York allow 5% THC levels for hemp products in process, these are both states where recreational marijuana is legal. And in both cases their hemp programs are overseen by health departments, apparently in part due to the high THC levels permitted under such circumstances.

The full text of Governor Kristi Noem’s veto letter can be found here.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

Most Popular