South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on Thursday vetoed a bill to raise THC levels allowed for unprocessed industrial hemp from 0.3% to 5%. Raising the THC threshold to 5% would have allowed for another processor to extract THC as it develops more uses for hemp after the initial process is completed. 

In her veto statement, Noem said the proposal would have changed the definition of “product in process” by increasing the THC limits which would have allowed hemp products and crops in the state “to contain over 16 times more THC than is currently allowed at the federal level.” The federal limits classify hemp as containing 0.3% THC or less.  

“Only two states allow a product in process to contain up to 5% THC: Colorado and New York, both of which have legalized recreational marijuana. South Dakota voters spoke clearly this past November: they do not want recreational marijuana. If I allowed this bill to become law, it would jeopardize the clearly expressed will of the people. Increasing the THC level to 5% would hinder our successful hemp program and undermine enforcement of our drug laws.” — Noem in the veto statement 

The bill had explicitly noted that consumer products could not contain 5% THC and that the hemp would be transported between processors in containers marked “not for human consumption.”  

The measure had passed the House on Monday with enough votes to overcome a veto; however, it passed 21-14 in the Senate – short of the two-thirds support required to overcome a veto.   

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