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The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre.

PIERRE | A legislative committee has amended a bill that could have inadvertently classified cannabadiol derived from hemp as a schedule IV drug.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday amended Senate Bill 22 — a bill that schedules controlled substances per federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guidelines — to specifically schedule Epidiolex “or successor trade names,” rather than cannabadiol, at large.

The committee received public pushback on the bill’s initial wording, which scheduled cannabadiol as a drug without specifying its source. Cannabadiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring substance that is most notably derived from cannabis or hemp and then used for medicinal or homeopathic purposes.

Currently, Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD oil on the prescription drug market used to prevent seizures. It is derived from marijuana, which remains otherwise illegal federally and in South Dakota.

But not all CBD oil comes from marijuana. CBD oil can also be extracted from hemp, a plant related to cannabis that is not a drug and has no psychoactive properties. Hemp was recently legalized at the federal level thanks to Congress’s 2018 Farm Bill.

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With hemp legal federally, members of the public questioned the committee as to why CBD oil derived from hemp should be classified as a scheduled drug.

Committee Chair Sen. Deb Soholt, R-Sioux Falls, said following last week’s committee hearing that the intent of SB 22 was not to schedule hemp-derived CBD oil but specifically Epidiolex and any drugs like it derived from marijuana.

The committee unanimously passed SB 22 as amended. It now moves on to the Senate, then the House before it reaches Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk.

The bill’s amendment does not necessarily make hemp-derived CBD oil legal in South Dakota, though. The Legislature has yet to take up any legislation involving the legalization, growth, production or sales of hemp in the state following Congress’s federal legalization in December. 

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