USDA Releases Hemp Regulations Draft, Says States Can’t Stop Interstate Shipments

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-The USDA says a rule that allows farmers to legally grow hemp will be finalized this week. It’s a move that many states have been waiting for, so they can begin widespread hemp production. But what exactly does this mean for South Dakota since hemp is still illegal in the state?

Randy Gleich with the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association says it’s a universal guideline for the U.S. when it comes to industrial hemp.

“There’s quite a bit of documentation and paperwork to monitor what a farmer is doing with it,”said Gleich. 

It establishes requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, and disposal of plants that have too high of a level. 

“It’s pretty much regulated, probably more regulated than selling liquor,”said Gleich. 

Also in the draft it says states can not block the interstate transportation of hemp. Recently in South Dakota a hemp delivery driver was stopped on his way to Minnesota. His load was tested for THC, the high-giving component in marijuana.

Gleich does not see the interstate transportation rule changing things in South Dakota. He says even with the transportation of industrial hemp being authorized by the federal government, there’s still one obstacle.

“What the federal government has done is allow the state to come up with some of their own regulations or criteria for testing,” said Gliech. 

He says in South Dakota, trucks transporting industrial hemp that get pulled over could have their load tested for THC. 

“They’re putting up roadblocks making it difficult when it can be done very simple,” said Gleich.

Gleich believes, “When you pull over the driver and the driver produces the certification and necessary paperwork right then and there, they should know that that is not marijuana, but industrial hemp.”

According to Governor Noem, hemp and marijuana look the same and smells the same. Police officers are unable to distinguish between hemp and marijuana on the road.

When it comes down to it Gleich says “Irrespective to what the law says the state is saying our local control is more important than federal.”

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the USDA will publish an interim final rule Thursday. It will formalize the hemp program approved in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Categories: Local News, News