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Agriculture Secretary Roberts Misstates Condition of CBD Market

Secretary of Agriculture (and Natural resources) Hunter Roberts spoke to the Sioux Falls Rotary Monday and talked down one agricultural product, cannabis:

Rotarian Cindy Peterson also asked Roberts where he saw the future of cannabis and industrial hemp in South Dakota, a discussion that led him make a distinction between the products.

He said DANR is trying to shy away from involvement in THC-related products, and directed those inquiries to the state Department of Revenue. That department regulates adult-use marijuana programs in South Dakota.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the prime psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Roberts was more positive about hemp. The secretary said there is “opportunity to grow” in the industrial hemp market, mainly where multi-use applications are concerned, like construction materials and feeding filters.

According to latest U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, 1,850 acres of hemp have been planted in South Dakota so far. Roberts hopes the industry reaches 2,400 acres by the end of the year.

He also claimed the CBD oil market has “tanked” [Dominik Dausch, “DANR Merger Has Come with Challenges, Secretary Hunter Roberts Says,” Farm Forum, 2022.04.29].

DA(NR)’s stated vision includes a “diverse agricultural economy.” Why would the Secretary of Agriculture (and that other stuff) first say his department doesn’t want to promote diversifying agriculture by growing cannabis to make popular and profitable medicinal products, then sandbag his already timid aspiration to add increase hemp planting from three whole sections to four by claiming CBD (cannabidiol) oil isn’t making money?

Roberts’s claim that CBD has “tanked” is so obviously false that the Farm Forum can’t avoid correcting him:

According to Hemp Benchmarks, most major CBD companies reported average or slightly less-than-average net revenue in 2021 compared to 2020.

The pandemic and supply chain issues have shuttered stores nationwide, limiting market growth, but the industry is still expected to expand during the next decade [Dausch, 2022.04.29].

Dausch’s first source, Hemp Benchmarks, notes that the market disappointment with CBD oil comes not from actual declines but from a failure to grow as fast as investors hoped:

While the coronavirus has continued to impact the U.S. – and the world – this year, available information indicates that CBD product sales have not bounced back in the same way as many other areas of consumer spending. A recent U.S. CBD Market Industry Update published by the Brightfield Group, a CBD and cannabis market research firm, estimates that retail sales of CBD products will reach $4.7 billion in 2021, up just 2.5% from $4.6 billion in 2020 [Hemp Benchmarks, “Analysis of Recent trends in Sales of Hemp-Derived THC & CBD,” 2021.12.01].

Dausch’s second source, Grand Review Research, said in February 2021 that the CBD market shrank 6.1% from 2019 to 2020 but was likely to see annual growth of 20% to 23% each year over the next five years. Vantage Market Research projects 21.3% annual growth through 2028. Research and Markets projects the market for CBD gummies will grow 28.3% annually through 2028. The CBD market is growing in Europe. A lot of companies are getting weeded out after a rush of dabblers entered the market, but only because startups hoping to cash in flooded the retail space, not because demand has fizzled.

SDCL 1-41-3.2 makes the Department of Agriculture (and Natural Resources) “responsible for researching and developing factual information on issues affecting the State of South Dakota and its agricultural industry….” Secretary Roberts, you should probably do your statutory job and your research and provide factual statements about the market opportunities for South Dakota farmers.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-04-30

    Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalization, state or tribal inspections and regulation of produce that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that aligns with prudent life safety goals.

    Contaminated dietary supplements, vapes, ointments and edibles are unacceptable in a country with a long history of snake oil salesmen. CBD products being sold in South Dakota and other states are little different from raw milk, preserves, pies or juices that are often tainted with hormones, pesticides and worse but sold at farmers markets anyway. Giving the products as gifts is one thing but selling untested product especially through interstate commerce is completely different.

  2. Eve Fisher 2022-04-30

    Agriculture Secretary Roberts is promoting the Noem BS that THC and CBD are the same, dangerous, “Reefer Madness” stuff. CBD oil is indeed a medicinal product that helps ease joint and muscle pain, and smells one heck of a lot better than Bengay (soon to be banned in Florida) and other topicals. Almost every senior citizen I know uses and prefers using CBD oil.
    Let’s face facts, South Dakota’s state government is determined to deny us any of the things we voted for: medical marijuana (try and get a card – HA!), recreational marijuana (using our own tax dollars against us), and now CBD oil, which is legal in EVERY state, because… Why? is it just spite? Or determined ignorance? Someone let me know.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-04-30

    I’m a skeptic and a scoffer, but Liz swears by the jar of CBD paste she uses occasionally for muscle tightness and neck and shoulder pain. She tells me the stuff really works. When I have some ache or pain, she prescribes CBD oil, but I prefer to drink a glass of wine and have her pound it out. A rough massage usually works for me.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-30

    Well…we have to face it. Governor Noem and her administration is not going to legalize pot or its side products. What would she say to the people at church??

  5. grudznick 2022-04-30

    Mr. Pay, try a snifter of The Glenlivet or perhaps some Pappy Van Winkle if you can get it, and then take your pounding. You will be much happier, I promise you.

    CBD is a bogus frat. A façade for the week minded who need some magic oils to make them feel safe.

  6. All Mammal 2022-04-30

    Not the oils I procure, Mr. G. The key is decarboxylation. My mom ignored my instructions and I caught her rubbing it on her knees instead of dropping it under her tongue. She’s goofy like that so I gave her my prized chocolates and now she can’t recall ever knowing that pain stuff.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-05-01

    Come on, they are all like Nadals uncle Toni, play through the pain, it’s good for you.

  8. grudznick 2022-05-01

    The demon weed does indeed bake minds.

  9. All Mammal 2022-05-01

    Raw brains are pissy and struggle to come up with more than a few different ways to prepare potatoes. There are, in fact, infinite delicious ways to get spudded.

  10. Adam 2022-05-02

    Cannabis policy in South Dakota highlights how the state is so full of incompetent and barely American citizens that it can’t uphold the basic will of its very own people.

    If you want anything good, get the rural out of government.

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