Some South Dakota lawmakers are attempting to overcome perceptions about hemp’s family ties to marijuana to explore the economic potential of the crop with a bill patterned after North Dakota’s industrial hemp law.
Cultivation of the plant could be a force for economic development in South Dakota if misconceptions about hemp can be dispelled, said Republican Rep. Mike Verchio, the proposal’s main House sponsor. It’s scheduled to be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee on Tuesday.
Verchio sees benefits from allowing cultivation beyond the producers who grow it. Hemp fields could feed manufacturing facilities to turn the plant into products ranging from mortar to fiberboard, he said.
“Industrial hemp is a farm crop, and it offers great benefits to industry,” said North American Industrial Hemp Council Chairman Erwin Sholts, who has promoted hemp for more than two decades. [Read more at the Rapid City Journal]