Industrial Hemp Summer Study Begins Work With Thursday Meeting

(KWAT) — The interim legislative committee that’s studying the legalization of hemp in South Dakota held its first meeting last Thursday. Committee member, State Representative Nancy York of Watertown, said they heard a lot about the challenges that have been seen by lawmakers who set up hemp rules and regulations in Kentucky….

“Kentucky was one of the first states to really bring in a hemp production program and thy’ve been doing it since 2014 and so they’ve put some rules and regulations in place so they were telling us about some of the hardships they went through to first of all get…the get the bill passed and then to struggle through all the things that they had to. And it wasn’t without a lot of woes that they did that. And you know, I think now their program, they said 2020 should be the first…first time their program is going to be self-supporting.”

York says it expensive for any state to legalize hemp….

“You know there’s a lot of cost to the state and that’s one of my main concerns with the production of hemp; is it really going to be an economic benefit to the state of South Dakota, to all of us as taxpayers. Is it going to benefit us or is it just going to be a hardship and they went through the same thing, so that their law enforcement that we are going through. Law enforcement was 100 percent against it just like ours has been here in South Dakota and so they had to get through all those…those things, but they have a very precise set of rules in play. For one thing, it’s a 1000 bucks up front if you want to be a hemp farmer. That’s your very first initial license and then you’ve got fees to pay for every little thing that goes along with it.”

York says she’s learning more about the uses of hemp in states like Kentucky–specifically CBD oil–which can be extracted from the plant….

“75% of their hemp growers are not growing them for the grain, they’re growing them for the flower and the oil and you know, there is now it’s getting to be hemp additives to a lot of our foods. They actually had some food there, granola bars that had hemp additives to ‘em so there’s a whole lot of things out there. It’s a..it’s a very complex subject.”
York says the committee expects to meet a total of three times before making recommendations to the 2020 Legislature.