A hemp farm in New Mexico has been shut down amid allegations that the operation violated the Clean Water Act. The farm is currently under investigation by the Navajo Environmental Protection Agency.
While the Navajo branch of the EPA is conducting the investigation, they are also waiting for feedback from the federal side as the alleged misconduct likely falls under their jurisdiction.
Violations for the farms include installing septic tanks without even looking at domestic wastewater regulations. The farms didn’t get any permits for the systems or have any plans to ensure that the water was disposed of properly.
This follows the case of a tribal member getting sued by the Navajo Department of Justice for running illegal hemp growing operations within the bounds of the reservation. A restraining order was placed on Dineh Benally, Native American Agriculture Co., and Navajo Gold Co. to get the parties to cease hemp production.
Benally was accused of selling land use permits to foreign interests to cultivate hemp on the Navajo Nation. The tribe changed its definition of cannabis in 2018 to broaden what constitutes marijuana. Until a system is set in place to regulate hemp production and issue permits however, the tribe doesn’t allow hemp cultivation on its land.