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(SD)-State Senate Approves Hemp Legalization Bill

By: John Axtell Posted at: 03/08/2019 11:47 PM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Senate has approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp a day after it faltered in a floor vote.
 
     The bill initially fell short of the two-thirds margin required for it to pass in the Senate, but supporters amended it to allow the measure to move forward with a simple majority vote.
 
     The Senate then passed it 21-14, sending the bill back to the House for approval of changes made by the Senate.
 
     Republican Sen. Jordan Youngberg, a bill co-sponsor, asked his colleagues to "kick it through and support our farmers," even though Governor Noem has repeatedly asked that lawmakers hold off on legalizing hemp this year.

      The federal farm bill passed last year legalized hemp, a non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana, but each state must take similar action before producers can grow the plant.

        Noem says she supports legalization, but not now because federal guidelines aren't expected to be final until later in the year and South Dakota doesn't have rules, regulations, or equipment in place for the crop.

      Noem has not said if she plans to veto the bill if it passes both chambers of the legislature. If she does, a veto override would require two-thirds support in both the House and Senate.


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