South Dakota lawmakers could ease hemp testing standards

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South Dakota officials are considering aligning the state’s hemp lab-testing standards with federal regulations – a move that would make testing easier for cultivators.

Senate Bill 117, which was introduced last week by Republican Sen. Joshua Klumb, would be particularly impactful to THC testing, according to the Sioux Falls-based Argus Leader.

Medical marijuana is legal in South Dakota, but farmers in the state grow the most hemp in the country, largely for fiber and CBD, the Leader reported, citing the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2022 National Hemp Report.

Under South Dakota laws, hemp must test at or below 0.3% THC, and anything that initially tests above that must be retested.

If it still tests above the threshold, the entire lot must be eliminated.

Under the proposed law, hemp would need to be retested only if its initial results showed 1% THC or more – the same threshold as the U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements published in 2021.

Retested samples would not be permitted to test above the 0.3% maximum.

The bill would also extend license periods to three years from 15 months and reduce the number of criminal background checks required to maintain a valid license.

“We want to do everything we can to help not just the farmers, but the processors,” said Rep. Oren Lesmeister, a Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.

“We want to be No. 1 in this, but also we want to be No. 1 in doing it right.”