Agriculture and National Resources Committee passes industrial hemp measure

PIERRE, S.D. (KJJQ) – The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passes a measure to legalize the growth of industrial hemp in South Dakota.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has asked lawmakers to hold off on the effort, saying the state isn’t ready. The House voted 65-2 in favor of the bill just days after Noem first requested a delay.

Bill sponsor, Oren Lesmeister of Parade, says industrial hemp could have a significant impact as a value-added crop in South Dakota.

Several members of the Noem administration testified against the bill including Senior Policy Analyst Aaron Scheibe (shy-bee).

Senator Deb Soholt of Sioux Falls says she still has concerns with the bill but it believes it’s worse to wait. She says the bill wouldn’t even become law until July.

The measure passed out of committee on a 7-2 vote and now heads to the Senate floor.