A bill to legalize hemp production in South Dakota passed through the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday. Committee Chairman Tom Brunner reflects on the bill that will now be debated by the full House. “We allowed Governor Noem’s people to put in many amendments, but it’s still our bill. It basically allows growing hemp and the manufacturing of hemp products in the state,” says Brunner. “It lays out the licensing and the penalties. We think this is a step in the right direction to legalize hemp production in South Dakota.” The bill covers at least three of the four requirements the governor asked for in hemp legislation at the beginning of the session. Right now, funding is the unknown. Brunner says the cost of implementing the program depends on the interest of hemp production. It may cost the state at least $3 million. “We’re still wrangling about money. We don’t have much extra laying around in our budget to fund things, but we think a lot of expenses would have been there anyway,” explains Brunner. “Due to federal law, hemp can be transported through the state. Our law enforcement and inspections would still need to happen whether or not we okayed hemp or not.”
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