Gov. Noem vetoes bill legalizing industrial hemp production
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday vetoed a bill to legalize industrial hemp production in the state, saying it would make law enforcement's job more difficult and could be a first step to eventually legalizing recreational marijuana.
Noem had previously opposed legalizing hemp this year but had not threatened a veto. She raised a host of objections to the bill as it was being drafted.
"There is no question in my mind that normalizing hemp, like legalizing medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to undermine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable," Noem said in a statement along with her veto.
Earlier Monday, the House voted overwhelmingly for the bill and sent it to her. But a 21-14 vote in the Senate fell short of the two-thirds support it would need to override her veto.
At least 41 states have enacted hemp growing and production programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill's main sponsor, Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister, has said it would allow South Dakota farmers and ranchers to keep up with the demand and the expansion of the hemp industry.
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