South Dakota House votes to legalize industrial hemp

South Dakota News

FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2019 file photo, workers at MERJ farms unload hemp plants during the first harvest at the Sullivan County farm, in Bristol, Tenn. U.S. agriculture officials say a rule that allows farmers to legally grow hemp will be finalized this week. It’s a move that many states have awaited for months so they can begin widespread hemp production. The rule establishes requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, and disposal of plants that don’t meet the requirements. (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota House has passed a proposal to legalize and regulate the growth, processing, and transportation of industrial hemp in the state.

Legislators didn’t even debate the bill as it passed with a two-thirds majority. It will next be considered by the Senate.

If that body also passes it and Gov. Kristi Noem signs it into law, it could go into effect immediately.

Funding could be a sticking point. Noem’s office estimates it would cost about $3.5 million to get the program up and running.

She wants legislators to figure out how to make room in the budget for it.

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