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South Dakota Governor Won’t Approve Industrial Hemp Because She’s Afraid It Will Open Door to Legal Marijuana

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Regardless of a person’s views on legalized marijuana, most politicians agree that legalizing industrial hemp is a good idea and is rarely controversial. But apparently South Dakota’s governor doesn’t agree.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem last week came out against a proposal to legalize industrial hemp in the state. She said that she didn’t believe the state was equipped to handle regulating industrial hemp, and also said she fears that legalizing hemp will lead to marijuana legalization.

I believe if we move ahead with industrial hemp and we aren’t prepared with it from a regulatory standpoint, from an enforcement standpoint, if we don’t have the equipment and dollars to do this correctly, we will be opening the door to allowing marijuana to be legalized in the state of South Dakota,” Noem said.

Now this is a little confusing because hemp and cannabis are different plants. So marijuana would still be illegal even if hemp were legal. So Noem doesn’t really seem to be making much sense.

Noem is also in the vast minority opinion on this issue. The South Dakota state House passed a bill last week to legalize industrial hemp by a vote of 65 to 2. The South Dakota Senate was supposed to hold a hearing on the hemp bill on Tuesday, but they delayed it after a request from Noem’s office. But still, it’s pretty much expected that the South Dakota Senate will also support the hemp bill by a similar margin, which means even if Noem vetoes the bill, it will easily be overturned by the legislature.

Although clearly this doesn’t bode well for the chances of the state legalizing recreational marijuana if they can’t even convince their top politician to approve of hemp.

(h/​t Argus Leader)

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