Members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 11-2 to pass House Bill 1054. This bill would allow for the production of industrial hemp. Despite the 11-2 vote, the bill is somewhat contentious as a number of opponents testified against HB 1054. Many of the concerns argued that HB 1054 will lead to the introduction of marijuana to South Dakota. Proponents of the legislation stated that industrial hemp and recreational marijuana are undoubtedly separate issues and clearly distinguishable in physical features. Proponents also pointed to the fact that South Dakota imports a majority of industrial hemp from Canada.
South Dakota Farmers Union has taken a favorable stance to HB 1054 as long as the safeguards in the legislation will limit production exclusively to industrial hemp. With low commodity prices and the harsh realities facing producers today, the more value added products available the better. SDFU will continue to follow the legislation and work to ensure the safeguards continue to protect the traditional values of South Dakotans.
HB 1054 currently awaits a vote on the House Floor. For the full bill text an explanation click the link below: