Because of problems that law enforcement would face with differentiating legal hemp from illegal hemp (pot), Governor Kristi Noem is continuing her opposition after speaking with law enforcement and tribal leaders on their experiences and the headaches they would face:
Gov. Kristi Noem is digging in against legalizing industrial hemp in South Dakota, setting up a potential showdown with the Legislature as a bill legalizing it is sailing through with little opposition.
Noem reiterated her opposition to legalizing industrial hemp in 2019 during her weekly press conference, saying she has “very real concerns” about passing House Bill 1191 during this legislative session.
“I believe if we move ahead with industrial hemp and we aren’t prepared with it from a regulatory standpoint, from an enforcement standpoint, if we don’t have the equipment and dollars to do this correctly, we will be opening the door to allowing marijuana to be legalized in the state of South Dakota,” Noem said.
Noem hasn’t outright said that she’ll veto the bill when asked, saying instead that she’ll consider the bill’s language before making a decision. If Noem vetoes the bill, the Legislature has the ability to override her veto.
But she also has concerns about the family and social implications if industrial hemp is legalized. She said she’s heard from social workers, addiction treatment counselors and families hurt by addiction that marijuana is a gateway drug — and that industrial hemp will open the door to marijuana distribution in South Dakota. Noem agrees with that, saying she is “100 percent convinced” that it would open that pathway.
Contact your Senators today to make sure they hold the line against starting down the path of pot legalization in the state. South Dakota doesn’t need to be the next Colorado, with all the societal ills they’re facing because of going down that path.