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Navajo Nation in discussions to cultivate hemp on reservation






Monument Valley in Utah. Photo by Wolfgang Staudt

The largest reservation in the United States could soon be producing hemp.

Hemp has been legal on the Navajo Nation since 2000, when the Navajo Nation Council approved it, The Navajo Times reported at the time. But efforts to cultivate the plant have never gotten off the ground.

That could be changing soon. According to Reuters, the tribe is in talks with CannaNative, a cannabis development company, to cultivate hemp on the reservation as soon as 2017.

Although hemp is closely related to marijuana, the two plants are not the same. Hemp does not contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol to provide the same psychoactive or "high" that comes from marijuana.

Still, the federal government considers them to be the same. Authorities raided a hemp farm on the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin a year ago and repeatedly shut down a hemp farm on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in the 2000s.

A federal judge has since lifted an injunction affecting hemp at Pine Ridge. A shift in Department of Justice policy and changes in federal law led to the ruling.

Hemp has multiple uses and can be used in food, clothing and other items.

Read More on the Story:
Hemp may be next gold mine for Native American tribes (Reuters 10/24)
Debra Borchardt: Navajo Tribe Signs Its First Hemp Growing Contract (Forbes 10/24)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Justice Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

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