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SD Attorney General: Hemp and CBD oil are still illegal

Despite legislative efforts to legalize industrial hemp, the plant and its derivatives remain illegal in South Dakota, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said in a statement March 25.

The legislature sent House Bill 1191, legalizing the growth, production, and processing of industrial hemp and its products in the state to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk. It died there. After the governor’s veto, the House overrode it with the required two-thirds vote; voting 55 for and 11 against. The Senate, however, failed in reaching its two-thirds required vote, getting only 20 Yeas to 13 Nays.

Now, despite federal rules allowing its cultivation, current South Dakota law makes industrial hemp illegal as well as all forms of CBD oil.

Ravnsborg issued a statement, he said, to clarify the situation. “We have had numerous informal inquiries as to the legal status of both hemp and CBD oils since the legislative session concluded,” said Ravnsborg. “It is important that the people of our state know and understand the status of the law so that they can obey it.”

The only exception is Epidiolex, a prescription drug which was listed by this year’s legislature made a controlled substance. The governor signed that bill into law on February 19, with an emergency clause, thus making the law go into effect immediately, rather than on July 1.

Ravnsborg said that some of the public’s confusion may be that the federal government legalized the production and possession of hemp in its 2018 Farm Bill that came out last December. “However … the legal status under state law did not change. Hemp and CBD oils remain illegal in South Dakota.”