South Dakota legislative committee to revisit CBD oil legislation after public pushback

FSA South Dakota capitol

PIERRE, S.D. — Legislators are revisiting language in the state's regular update to the list of controlled substances after facing public pushback regarding the bill's scheduling of cannabidiol, often called CBD oil.

The Senate Health and Human Services committee heard public testimony on Senate Bill 22 on Monday Jan. 14 , which updates the state's scheduling of controlled substances in accordance to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. New from last year's list, SB 22 schedules CBD oil as a Schedule IV controlled substance.

CBD oil is naturally occurring chemical and can be found in everything from hops used to brew beer to breast milk, but most notably in pharmaceuticals. It can be extracted from cannabis or hemp to create medicine and supplements.

While cannabis and cannabis-derived CBD oil are federally classified as Schedule I drugs, hemp and its derivatives show no sign of psychoactive effects and contain only trace amounts of THC. They are not regulated by the DEA, but rather by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Congress in December passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes the growth and production of hemp .

The way SB 22 is currently written, all CBD oil would be classified as a Schedule IV narcotic, not just that which is derived from cannabis.


The committee on Monday heard testimony from several who opposed this classification, saying that CBD oil helped them or someone they know manage pain and chronic illness, often without the help of addictive opiates.

Pat Cromwell of Rapid City told the committee that not only is CBD oil a safe and affordable treatment option for those with chronic illness and pain, but that outlawing CBD oil in the state could "create a barrier" to growing and developing hemp in South Dakota, where agriculture is the number one industry.

"This could be the next big thing for this state," Cromwell said. " It would be foolish and shortsighted on our part to run interference, to stop this from happening here in South Dakota."

Republican Sen. Deb Soholt from Sioux Falls, who chairs the committee, said after the testimony that the committee "clearly" has to revisit the language of the bill to make it specifically target CBD oil derived from cannabis. She said that is the intent of the bill —
not to target hemp or its derivatives.

"Perhaps there is a way we can language it that gets to the intent of the (Drug Enforcement Agency) but doesn't cause misunderstanding or misinterpretation," Soholt said after the hearing.

She said that after another look at the bill's text, the committee plans to take it up again next week.

Mearhoff is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. You can reach her at or 651-290-0707.
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