To the Editor:

I am curious why the governor vetoed HB 1191: "an act to legalize the growth, production and processing of industrial hemp and derivative products in the state." Could it be she thought it to be too easily confused with marijuana?

Hemp is a sturdy, hardy tall crop with a thick stem reaching up to 20 feet in height and little to no branching (https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/not-marijuana/). It closely resembles bamboo.

Marijuana is a short, fat stubby plant with plentiful branches. Only female plants can produce flowers and THC with its intoxicating effect. Growers keep females separate from males after germination to prevent cross-pollination which would destroy the plant for recreational purposes. The presence of hemp within close proximity also destroys its intoxicating effect.

Jen Hobbs' notes in her book "American Hemp," "Prior to the passage of the 2018 farm bill, the federal government stated it was illegal to commercially cultivate and manufacture hemp products, so American industries were importing ($688 million worth of) hemp products in other countries [in 2016]."

The market for legal domestic hemp is bound to be greater and free from tariffs.

Mark Winegar, Chair

Sierra Club, South Dakota Chapter

Vermillion