Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Chaos and cannabis: A massive hemp empire is accused of growing illegal marijuana and sowing violence on the Navajo reservation


September 25, 2020

Submitted | Don J. Usner A large hemp growing operation, involving dozens of greenhouses, near Shiprock.

In the fertile northeast corner of the Navajo Nation, fields that only months ago were traditional open-air corn farms are now stuffed with hundreds of industrial-sized greenhouses, each glowing with artificial lights and brimming with emerald cannabis plants. Security cameras ring the perimeters and hired guards in flak jackets patrol the public roads alongside the farms.

Every weekday throughout the summer, a group of local kids woke at sunrise and arrived at the farm by 7:30, ready for a 10-hour shift of hard labor under the high desert sun. Many were teenagers, 13- and 14-year-olds lured by offers of quick cash. A few were as young as 10.


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