Legalizing Industrial Hemp does NOT legalize marijuana!
As mentioned before, I’m on this legislative summer study. Our committee is a mix of Representatives and Senators, of both parties. Also, those who voted for Industrial Hemp, and those who voted against Industrial Hemp during the past session. We have heard testimony from the state of Kentucky, which got on a pilot program back in 2014; Montana, and North Dakota. All these states have legalized Industrial Hemp. All three have no intentions of legalizing marijuana.
Here’s how they are doing it: First, for a farmer to get a license to grow Industrial Hemp, he must apply for a license and pay a fee. Once their application is received, that grower goes through numerous checks, including a background check. If that potential hemp grower has prior drug arrests or is a felon, he is not granted a license.
Also, on the application, the number of acres of Industrial Hemp crop, the exact grid coordinates (sorry, military “talk”), the exact legal description of the land. If all is approved, the state, in this case the state of South Dakota, would give that farmer the authorization to grow Industrial Hemp.
At any time during that growing season, which is about the same as corn, 90-105 days, his field or fields are subject to unannounced inspections by the SD Dept. of Agriculture personnel, ensuring that Industrial Hemp plants are under the 0.3% THC level as approved by the Federal Farm Program. It is also to ensure that there isn’t any “hanky-panky”, like Hemp on the outside of the field, or marijuana smack in the middle of the field.
Once it is time to harvest, the farmer takes it to a processing plant and sells his crop, just like is done now with corn or wheat.
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Our farmers will have with the load going to market, their paperwork, such as the license from the state. If they have no paperwork, they would be subject to arrest as the load would be treated like it was marijuana.
Furthermore, our law enforcement, who are true professionals, can tell the difference between a bale and a baggy. Farmers don’t take their crops to market in a baggy. They would take it in bales, or harvested grain seeds.
One farmer who testified before our committee, testified that he planted his hemp crop to capture the CBD oil, which is the flowered type of hemp. He planted 100 acres. After 90 days, when it came time to harvest, the processor bought his crop in the field. The processor harvested it themselves. He testified that the hemp flower harvest is very labor intensive. The processor paid the farmer $14 million for crop in the field!
Also, I disagree using Texas as an example of Hemp because it isn’t as accurate as, say, North Dakota. Here’s why: Texas passed their Hemp bill in May, it was signed into law in July, and has not been approved by USDA or implemented yet. Texas also has 27 million people, with a southern border touching Mexico. North Dakota and South Dakota combined have way less than a population of 2 million. Also, Texas hasn’t implemented Hemp while North Dakota has. If law enforcement in Texas is just destroying marijuana, and not arresting anyone, that is a law enforcement issue, not an Industrial Hemp issue. I’m sure law enforcement in Texas is a nightmare with illegal immigration, etc. I think all South Dakota citizens would agree that North Dakota is a better place to compare Industrial Hemp production than Texas. There you have it. A bale is not a baggy. No licensing and paperwork, and it is treated by our law enforcement as though it is marijuana.
To the citizens of District 30 and to all the men and women in uniform, in honor of all who served, in respectful memory of all who fell, and in great appreciation to those who serve today, Thank You, for giving me the opportunity to represent you.