Navajo Nation lawsuit alleging illegal grow operation can proceed, court rules

A New Mexico district court declined to dismiss a lawsuit from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice that accuses a tribal member of an illegal hemp-growing operation.

A Shiprock District Court judge made the ruling Sept. 10 in response to a request from Dineh Benally, who is allegedly growing, transporting, licensing, and selling industrial hemp illegally in the Navajo Nation.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision as we continue to resolve this important matter,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, the Navajo-Hopi Observer reported.

“The Navajo Nation will continue to request the courts to hold Dineh Benally and his associates accountable for their actions,” Nez said.

As part of the case, tribal prosecutors are seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop Benally’s operations until the case is resolved.