While Kristi Noem was off filling her rodeo fans in Vegas full of bull, killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was back here at home admitting that Kristi was full of it when she warned that legalizing hemp would trigger a law enforcement apocalypse:
When Noem used her veto power to stop industrial hemp legalization in 2019, she said at the time she not only feared hemp legalization as part of a broader, long-term effort to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, it would also “undermine enforcement of the drug laws” in South Dakota.
Tim Bormann, chief of staff in the Attorney General’s Office, told the Argus Leader this week, concerns about distinguishing hemp from marijuana stemmed from “interested parties” within the state not having an agreed upon field test for THC levels.
That’s no longer the case.
“There is now an accepted field test available to check THC levels to allow for a quick and efficient differentiation between industrial hemp and marijuana,” he said.
And according to the 2021 Hemp Report, a document compiling statistics and other information related to hemp legalization’s effect on enforcement of other drug laws, only twice did police agencies in the state discover violations of the state’s hemp laws in the previous 12 months.
One resulted in no charges, while the other led to a broader drug bust that has a Washington state man facing multiple drug possession and distribution charges [Joe Sneve, “Report: Fears Whether Hemp, CBD Products Would Complicate Drug Laws Haven’t Materialized in SD,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2021.12.01].
The AG’s report confirms what was clear to sober observers in 2019: Noem’s anti-hemp hysteria—including her infamous and deceptive list of 319 questions about hemp, including 82 about law enforcement—was bogus. She flip-flopped in the 2020 Session and surrendered to the Legislature’s determination to legalize industrial hemp. South Dakota farmers are now successfully producing hemp, and South Dakota law enforcement is seeing none of the impact on public safety that Noem predicted.