Kick back at the Hemp Hoe Down


Jennifer L. Nielson

A petition drive to get 16,500 signatures to put industrialized hemp issue on the November ballot is the reason for the Second Annual Hemp Hoe Down in Hermosa.

The Second Annual Hemp Hoe Down April 6 and 7 at the Elkview Campground will give people a chance to seek out the petition to sign and to financially support the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council’s efforts to bring some legalize the growth of hemp, along with other policies. In December, delegates to the 8,000 member South Dakota Farmers Union annual convention adopted a resolution endorsing the industrial hemp petition drive.

“We still need a few thousand signatures, but failure to make the ballot is not an option. We’ll be there,” said spokesman Bob Newland.

Newland, a co-founder of the SDIHC, kicked off the petition drive last May by planting two hemp seeds at the Custer County court house.

The first Hemp Hoe Down, held at Piedmont last April provided funding to launch and fuel the industrial hemp petition drive. The petition asks for a change in South Dakota statute law; it would remove South Dakota’s barriers to production of industrial hemp. The question will be presented to voters in November’s election.

“We’re getting a little short of money,” said Newland. “Running a petition drive, even with the help of an almost entirely volunteer group, is expensive. The Hemp Hoe Down should allow us to finish our work and get it settled as to what South Dakotans want to do to afford more opportunity to family farmers and to tell the federal government to change its absurd hemp policy.”

The hoe down will start in the evening on Saturday April 6 at 6 p.m. with the blessing of the hemp crop with a Lakota ceremony celebrating Alex White Plume’s third year of growing hemp in South Dakota. Hemp Ale will be served free after the ceremony. The celebration will continue Sunday at 11 a.m. with six bands to play until midnight. Charge for the concert is $6. The bands playing are Lange Termes, Ezmerelda, Brother Otis with Chris Cady, DJ Funkdown with Hybridz Crew, Christy Lee Anderson, Fellow Travelers and Funbags.

Other events on Sunday are cooling with hemp, hemp product displays and vendors, a hemp history display, belly dancing for hemp, hemp beer making demonstrations and hemp seed oil massages.

The Hoe Down is free of charge and open to the public. Campsites are available for $5.25 for two people. For more information, visit, or call 1-877-687-5297.