House Ag Committee passes amended hemp bill

PIERRE, S.D. (KJJQ) – Discussions resumed in the South Dakota Legislature on this year’s effort to legalize industrial hemp. The bill was on pause for a week awaiting an amendment from the Governor’s office.

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has worked their way through the large and complex bill and they passed the amended version Thursday morning on an 11-0 vote.

Last year’s bill was vetoed by Governor Kristi Noem. She has said she would sign a bill if it meets her criteria.

A good portion of the discussion centered on funding — the governor has said the program must be paid for. Representative Herman Otten of Lennox says many of the costs would happen anyway.

Otten says many of those costs should already have been covered in the general fund. Committee Chair Thomas Brunner of Nisland shared his thoughts.

Representative Oren Lesmeister of Parade is co-sponsor of the bill.

The measure now moves to the full house.