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South Dakota Governor Outlines Four 'guardrails' For Hemp Legalization

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has outlined four "guardrails" that must be put in place for her to sign a bill to legalize the state's hemp industry.

According to the governor, any hemp legislation for the state must include reliable enforcement guidelines, responsible regulation, safe transportation of the product, and adequate funding.

Last year, the governor vetoed a hemp legalization bill, arguing that legalizing hemp in the state would lead to the legalization of marijuana "by default".

Noem now says on her website that the bill did not address concerns surrounding public safety, law enforcement, or funding. However, she added that things have changed since then.

"Federal guidelines have been put in place, a South Dakota tribe has been given the green light on production, and other states' actions mean we need to address hemp transportation through our state. The legislative summer study also did great work, and they included some good ideas," Noem said.

According to Noem, any person growing hemp in the state must consent to an inspection and a search that would be done without liability to the law enforcement agency. The actual cost of disposal of crops that test over the legal THC limit should be paid by the grower or possessor.

The bill must prohibit the sale or use of hemp and hemp derivatives for smoking. It must include an annual statistical report by the Attorney General to the legislature as well as the governor about the impact of decriminalization on other criminal drug prosecutions.

Further, the bill must include responsible regulation regarding licensing, reporting, and inspections. A minimum land area size and an appropriate fee structure for the application, annual license, and inspection should be included, according to the governor.

The law must also require a permit and other needed paperwork for all safe transportation of the product. It must include appropriate legal consequences for people transporting the product without appropriate documentation.

The law must also have adequate funding. According to Noem, decriminalization will cost about $3.5 million and there must be a plan to pay for it without raising taxes.

"Given all that we need to accomplish this session, if we can get this done in the coming weeks, it would be a good way to kick off this year's legislative session," the governor concluded.

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