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US: Navajo Nation cracks down on cannabis cultivation

Problematic cannabis cultivation on Navajo Nation lands has led to a new resolution to clarify the Nation’s stance.

The Navajo Nation is an American Indian territory covering more than 17.5 million acres of north-eastern Arizona, south-eastern Utah and north-western New Mexico.

The Navajo Nation doesn’t allow for hemp or cannabis to be grown on its land, with the exception of a pilot project being carried out in partnership with New Mexico State University. However, at least one unauthorised party has been cultivating hemp, claiming passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalised it at a federal level allows this to occur – and there was no Navajo Nation penalty in place for growing hemp.

There have also been accusations that the operation is a front for growing cannabis and various environmental damage is occurring in connection with the operation, which is being carried out at multiple sites.

A temporary court-issued restraining order that halted hemp production on Navajo lands was put in place in September. Last week, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a resolution into law amending the Navajo Nation Criminal Code; clarifying the legal definition of “cannabis”.


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