The recently formed Minnesota Hemp Association is protesting the July arrest in South Dakota of an unspecified truck driver delivering legally grown hemp from Colorado to a processor in Minnesota.

“This situation highlights the serious deficiency of consistent laws around hemp, cultivation, transportation, processing and selling,” said Joe Radinovich, a former Minnesota legislator and 2018 DFL congressional candidate who is executive director of the state hemp trade group. “A Minnesota Hemp Association member expected a shipment of legally grown hemp. Instead the driver was arrested, and the hemp confiscated in a state that isn’t complying with the [federal] farm bill and allowing hemp to be transported.”

The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act that was signed into law by President Trump. That formerly legalized, after state-by-state emergence of the industry as permitted by federal regulators for several years, the growing, processing and sale of hemp-related products, including so-called CBD oils and balms that lack the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that makes people high.

Radinovich said the arrest in South Dakota was for marijuana posession "with intent to distribute."

South Dakota, whose governor vetoed a hemp-legalization bill this year, is surrounded by states that have given the go-ahead to the hemp industry. The economic output has been projected at $20 billion within several years. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed an industrial-hemp bill last spring, saying she wanted further federal clarification and was concerned about related state-enforcement spending.

South Dakota authorities have been mum so far on the case.

“The Minnesota Hemp Association…expects to see charges against the driver dropped, hemp legalized in South Dakota and more legal clarity at the federal level to ensure good people making an honest living in the hemp industry are able to do without fear of legal action taken against them without cause.”

Here's a recent column I wrote about Minnesota’s burgeoning hemp industry:

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