Noem urged caution on industrial hemp ahead of committee meeting

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is again urging lawmakers to consider "extensive questions" regarding industrial hemp as a state committee meets to discuss the potential crop.

Noem issued a press release Monday morning asking lawmakers to consider the "unknowns" surrounding industrial hemp.

Several states have legalized hemp production since the 2018 Farm BIll eased restrictions on the product. A bill to legalize hemp growth in South Dakota was passed by the Legislature in March, but was vetoed by Noem.

A legislative committee is meeting in Pierre Monday to discuss the ramifications of legalizing industrial hemp in South Dakota. In the committee's first meeting earlier this summer, lawmakers examined how other states implemented the crop.

Noem has repeatedly expressed concerns that since hemp and marijuana are so similar, legalized hemp would make it difficult for authorities to enforce marijuana laws. She has also said that legalization of hemp cultivation could lead to medical marijuana and eventually legalization of recreational use of marijuana in South Dakota.

In Monday's letter, Noem said industrial hemp "is surrounded by many question marks. It could be reckless to introduce a product that has serious implications on the health and safety of the next generation."

Noem also included concerns from South Dakota Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price, who said industrial hemp "would have a negative impact on our drug fighting efforts in South Dakota."