fbpx
 

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Dineh Benally, Native American Agriculture Company, and Navajo Gold Company to stop illegal growth, possession and distribution of industrial hemp on the Tribe’s reservation. 

In the lawsuit, Navajo Nation alleges the defendants of illegally growing, producing, manufacturing, transporting, licensing, and selling industrial hemp within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

Navajo Nation also alleges the defendants unlawfully issued Navajo land-use permits to foreign entities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp.

“The Navajo Nation has received numerous complaints, tips, and warnings about these illegal activities happening on Navajo lands. It is unfortunate that in the middle of a global pandemic that has claimed too many of our relatives that the Nation is forced to take this action against one of our own, who seeks to enrich himself in blatant disregard for the laws of the Nation,” Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen N. McPaul said.

As a part of the lawsuit, the Navajo Nation filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a request for a preliminary injunction in order to ensure that the defendants are prevented from continuing operations. 

In 2018, the Navajo Nation Council amended the Navajo Nation Code to broaden the definition of marijuana and made clear that industrial hemp was not permitted on tribal lands until the Navajo Nation created a regulatory system and obtained permits for it.

Since then, the Council has authorized a hemp pilot research project between the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (“NAPI”) and New Mexico State University (“NMSU”) to study the best hemp producing plants for cultivation.  The Tribe recently extended this project for a year and expanded the area by five acres for the 2020 crop season. However, that narrowly-tailored pilot program is exclusive to NAPI and NMSU in compliance with federal law.  It does not permit Defendants’ activities nor does it otherwise legalized hemp production on the Nation’s lands generally.

The Navajo Nation Council and the Office of the President and Vice President have reiterated that growing, cultivating, and marketing industrial hemp is illegal in the Navajo Nation.

The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of the Navajo Nation, Judicial District of Shiprock, N.M.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (January 23, 2022): D.C. Briefs
NCAI's 2022 Executive Council Winter Session to be Virtual Again This Year
US Supreme Court Will Not Consider Overturning McGirt Decision; Will Rule on Scope of the Landmark Ruling
Former Gov. Bill Richardson Promotes High-tech Jobs at Navajo Technical University; Donates 200 pairs of Nike Shoes to Crownpoint Students
Navajo Nation to Utilize Drones to Deliver Critical Supplies to Community

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

This news will be provided free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts.  Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.