Navajo Nation police issued the warning Wednesday after confirming that officers were investigating complaints about marijuana or hemp being grown near the northwestern New Mexico community of Shiprock.
Police Chief Phillip Francisco says his department has turned over its findings to tribal prosecutors for further review.
Police say the fields found near Shiprock were connected to a business called “Navajo Gold,” but they could not find a valid license for the operation. Navajo lawmakers haven’t passed any legislation that would allow for growing hemp or marijuana for industrial production or distribution.
Here’s a story about the launch of the business dated from October 2019
DESPITE PREZ’S WARNING, HEMP STORE OPENS IN SHIPROCK
CHINLE, N.M. — The Navajo Nation’s first hemp products store opened in Shiprock Thursday and the Native American Agriculture Company (NAAC) has no intention of backing down in spite of a warning from President Jonathan Nez Tuesday that growing hemp on the Navajo Nation is illegal.
Dineh Benally, who heads both the NAAC and the San Juan River Farm Board, stated in a press release issued late Thursday night that the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and Navajo Nation law both allow for hemp cultivation, and the company intends to continue and expand production.
“After the success of last year’s pilot program, we stepped up production for 2019 and plan to produce more going into 2020,” Benally stated.