Navajo Nation files lawsuit against 33 farmers for illegal hemp, marijuana growing

New Mexico

NAVAJO NATION (KRQE) – Attorney General Doreen McPaul has announced that the Navajo Nation has filed a lawsuit in the Shiprock District Court against the 33 known famers growing hemp and or marijuana in violation of Navajo law. The Navajo Nation alleges that the defendants possess or control Navajo lands that are being used to illegally grow, produce, manufacture, transport, or sell industrial marijuana and or hemp.

The lawsuit states this is causing irreparable injury and contamination to the Nation’s lands, waters, and natural resources. According to press release from the Navajo Nation, this is the second lawsuit from the Nation to stop hemp and marijuana operations as the Nation initially sued Dineh Benally and two unregistered entities in June 2020.

The 33 farmers named as the defendants include: Farley BlueEyes, Deana Alvarado, Gilbert Bedonie, William Bedonie, Richard Begaye (aka Richard Begay), Donald Benally, Margaret Benally (aka Marjorie Benally), Marcus Benally (aka Markus Benally), Winston Benally, Lula Boy, Grace Chavez, Harrison Cly, Jimmie Coolidge (Jimmy Coolidge), David Devore, Marcus Field, Margaret Harrison, Anita Hayes, Perry Hayes, Robin Hayes, Robert Hayes, Freddie Hobson, Larry Jack, Austin Jim, Fernando Jim, Jean Jones, Donald Kee, Kathy Manis, Sherrel Mesa, Lynette Muttes, Louise Pettigrew, Ronnie Ross, Gene Sherrell, and Nita Yazzie.

The Navajo Nation Department of Justice, the Office of the Prosecutor, Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, and the Navajo Police Department will provide an update on a variety of hemp-related issues at the outdoor patio area of the San Juan Chapter House on Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. Social distancing and masks will be strictly enforced.

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