Anti-cannabis governor targets hemp, saying plant too close for police

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A Republican governor who strongly opposes marijuana legalization says that allowing hemp cultivation is just as problematic.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took her argument national in The Wall Street Journal, arguing in an op-ed column that law enforcement doesn’t have the testing capacity to discern between marijuana and legal hemp, which has no more than 0.3% THC.

“Until law enforcement can quickly and affordably differentiate between marijuana and hemp, states that have legalized hemp have essentially legalized marijuana as well,” wrote Noem, who vetoed a hemp-legalization bill in her home state earlier this year.

The governor’s argument did not account for the fact that Congress removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act in last year’s Farm Bill, making hemp legal nationwide whether police agencies can easily test for it or not.

Still, the Farm Bill says that states may still elect to ban hemp cultivation.

South Dakota is one of three states with no laws on the books permitting hemp cultivation for research or commercial purposes.

Noem argues that opposing hemp cultivation is her way to oppose marijuana.

“I believe the social experiment our nation is conducting with highly potent legal weed will end poorly,” she wrote.

To read more of Noem’s op-ed column, click here.