BY ACM STAFF
This week the Navajo Nation Council will discuss a proposal to take up a hemp farming pilot program on tribal land. If the legislation is approved, the new program will be an exception to tribal laws that prohibit growing any kind of cannabis including hemp and a dramatic shift in direction for the tribe.
Legislation approving the project passed the Navajo Nation Council’s legislative policy committee, the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee, last week. Bill sponsor, Council Delegate Rickie Nez, explains the program will allow researchers from the University of New Mexico to work with the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) to lease land for research and development of a potential hemp crop for the tribe.
The NAPI center in Farmington, NM is producer of Native Pride brand foods. Dr. Kevin Lombard, the supervisor of NAPI, assured council members that the program would include strict monitoring to be prevent hemp plants from rising above .3% THC content. With its rich soil and dependable water supply, farmers in the Shonto Canyon area are hoping that their community will be able to develop their own hemp crops if the pilot program goes well.
The vote will be taken at a special council session at the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock, AZ Wednesday, June 5, at 2pm.
(Original reporting Marley Shebala, Gallup Independent)