PIERRE — State legislators decided Monday to revisit language in Senate Bill 22, which makes CBD oil illegal in the state unless it is approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
The Senate Health and Human Services committee heard public testimony on SB 22, which also updates the state's scheduling of controlled substances in accordance for federal Drug Enforcement Administration. New from last year's list, the bill schedules most CBD oil as a Schedule IV controlled substance.
CBD oil is a naturally occurring chemical and can be found in everything from hops used to brew beer to breast milk, but most notably in pharmaceuticals. It is extracted from cannabis or hemp to create medicine and supplements.
Hemp is no longer regulated by the DEA, but rather by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Congress in December passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes the growth and production of industrial hemp, listing it as an agricultural product.
The way SB 22 is written, CBD oil not approved by the FDA would be classified as a narcotic in South Dakota, including hemp-derived CBD oils that were available for sale in the state until September 2018 when law enforcement raided stores – including two in Rapid City – and told the businesses they could no longer sell the product.
The committee heard testimony from several who opposed SB 22, saying that CBD oil helped them or someone they know manage chronic pain and that the legislation should not make a product illegal that is legal on the federal level.
Pat Cromwell, of Rapid City, told the committee that not only is CBD oil a safe and affordable treatment option for those with chronic pain, sleeplessness or anxiety, but also that outlawing CBD oil could "create a barrier" to growing and developing hemp in South Dakota, where agriculture is the No. 1 industry.
"This could be the next big thing for this state," Cromwell said. "It would be foolish and shortsighted on our part to run interference, to stop this from happening here in South Dakota."
Republican Sen. Deb Soholt, of Sioux Falls, who chairs the committee, said later the committee "clearly" needs to revisit the bill’s language. She said the intent is not to target hemp or its derivatives.
"Perhaps, there is a way we can language it that gets to the intent of the (Drug Enforcement Agency) but doesn't cause misunderstanding or misinterpretation," Soholt said after the hearing.
She said that after another look at the bill's text, the committee plans to take it up again next week.