Differing Estimates of Legal Hemp Costs Put Legalization at Risk in North Dakota

A tentative ceasefire between North Dakota’s previously anti-hemp governor and its lawmakers has been put into peril by two widely differing estimates on what it will take to legalize the plant in the state. 

On Tuesday, Governor Kristi Noem presented a plan to a legislative committee to put $3.5 million towards the cost of regulating hemp. But policy makers’ estimates were far more modest, ringing in at a total of $250,000 — a figure that does not take into account $80,000 they say the state will take in through licensing and fees for hemp farmers and processors. 

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The difference in price tag comes down to the politicians’ visions of the consequences of legalizing hemp. Noem has long demonized the plant as a gateway into the legalization of marijuana, and says that drug crime statistics will rise if the plant is regulated. 

Noem’s proposal is to hire 15 full time staffers and four police dogs in order to beef up drug-related law enforcement. 

She also affirmed the need for new equipment to store and test drugs. Surely the governor has been paying attention to the trials and tribulations of other states that have legalized hemp and discovered belatedly that

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