South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has plenty of questions about hemp – 315 in fact – and she wants careful consideration given to them by the state’s lawmakers.
Governor Noem is very suspicious of allowing a legal hemp sector into her state. In March this year, she vetoed House Bill 1191 that would have allowed industrial hemp to be grown and processed in South Dakota.
Following that, Governor Noem submitted a list of 315 questions concerning hemp to the state’s House and Senate leadership.
The questions cover five major areas.
- Agricultural and Processing Issues
- Laboratory Testing
- Pharmacy / Pharmacology
- Controlled Substances Laws
- Law Enforcement
Since that time, it doesn’t appear the Governor’s concerns regarding hemp have changed or been allayed.
“As a lifelong farmer and rancher, I would be thrilled to lead the charge in introducing a new crop that might bolster markets and support producers during this difficult season,” said Governor Noem earlier this week. “Industrial hemp, however, is surrounded by many question marks.”
She also alluded to hemp being a “product that has serious implications on the health and safety of the next generation,” without further clarification.
U.S. states that are yet to enact industrial hemp legislation are very much in the minority now – and most of those that are yet to are well on the way. While it’s not a straightforward process, new things usually aren’t – however, there is the added element of hemp’s association with its cousin marijuana that certainly makes some issues more complex as hemp states have discovered. But whether those challenges will outweigh the long-term benefits of the crop depends on who you speak to.
Governor Noem does make a very valid point:
“Let’s learn from the mistakes of other states and find these answers together before we commit to something we don’t know everything about.”
That is commendable if the prime motivation isn’t to continue to kick the hemp can down the road for the sake of it or in the hope that those pushing for hemp in South Dakota will simply give up in frustration.
But governors aren’t in office forever.