Noem's position on hemp unchanged despite new USDA guidelines

(SD Gov/MGN)

Gov. Kristi Noem says recently released guidelines from the federal government have not softened her position against industrial hemp.

Noem issued a statement Tuesday, reiterated previously stated concerns that legalized industrial hemp would make it difficult to enforce marijuana laws, and that it would serve as a gateway toward legal marijuana in South Dakota.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released guidelines for the production of industrial hemp. Many states had already legalized hemp production, but others were waiting for guidance from the federal level.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota is one of three states that does not allow any cultivation of hemp.

The following is the full statement from Gov. Noem:

“USDA’s guidelines are out, but my position on legalizing industrial hemp has not changed. I remain opposed to industrial hemp in South Dakota because of the impact it will have on public safety and law enforcement’s ability to enforce drug laws.

USDA does not preempt a state’s ability to adopt stronger requirements or prohibit production. South Dakota state law prohibits industrial hemp production, and that statute still stands. The guidelines do require the State to permit interstate transportation of hemp. My team is working to ensure we have proper procedures in place so this doesn’t become something that weakens our drug laws.

Conversations around hemp will continue, and I will continue to make the case that legalizing hemp will legalize marijuana by default.”