From the Argus Leader, State Law enforcement and Health Department Officials are raising the alarm over how the legalization of hemp in South Dakota is simply a gateway to legalizing marijuana in the state, and that there still isn’t any way to reliably tell the difference when testing for illegal drugs in the state:
In February, Public Safety Secretary Craig Price said industrial hemp would stretch law enforcement resources. Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said testing industrial hemp would increase the state’s testing lab’s workload.
Many of those concerns were echoed Monday, with both Price and Malsam-Rysdon showing resistance in legalizing hemp. Price said legalizing hemp would open a pathway to legalizing marijuana and said it would put strain on field officers who wouldn’t be able to field test material to determine if it was hemp or marijuana. He said other states have stopped all prosecution of marijuana cases pending a lab test result.
“I certainly don’t want to do anything that would further increase the threat to our next generation of kids,” Price said. “If you’re so strongly against legalization of marijuana, please consider the impact of legalization of industrial hemp would have on that very issue.”
It’s pretty simple. Until such time that officers on our front lines of the war against drugs can tell the difference between what proponents might call benign hemp and illegal street drugs, the state should proceed cautiously.