South Dakotans are voting on whether to legalize medical and recreational marijuana (Initiated Measure 26 and Amendment A), but 2020 House Bill 1008, passed last March, already allows South Dakota farmers to grow industrial hemp. Foot-dragging by Governor Kristi Noem (too busy, of course, planning fireworks for Donald and campaign trips for herself) and slow work from the Trump swamp kept farmers from planting hemp this year, but the USDA last week finally approved South Dakota’s plan for regulating hemp.
Representative and agriculturalist Oren Lesmeister (D-28A/Parade), who pushed hard for the governor to get over her paranoia and give farmers the freedom to make their own economic choices, is happy as a grasshopper in August:
“This is exciting news for South Dakota,” Lesmeister, a Dupree Democrat, said after the Friday announcement. “This is what I have been waiting and battling for, is to see producers and processors of industrial hemp in South Dakota.”
…“Finally getting closer to the finish line, the ride has been long, but very rewarding. I have met people and seen places that I would have never gone to if it wasn’t for hemp,” the rancher said. “I am so exited to attend my second hemp production and informational meeting in Chamberlain next weekend that all I can do is smile” [Bob Mercer, “As S.D. Agencies Get Rules Ready, Lawmaker Praises Approval of Industrial Hemp Plan,” KELO-TV, 2020.10.17].
The Chamberlain meeting to which Rep. Lesmeister refers is the “Morning for Hemp in the Missouri River Valley” meeting at the AmericInn this Saturday, October 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are free, as, apparently, is lunch from Chubby’s. Rep. Lesmeister will be speaking along with some other legislators, Doane University experts, and producers from Nebraska and Colorado. Organizers held a similar hemp forum in Fort Pierre on August 29.
If you attend, wear a mask… which one can make from hemp.