The Navajo tribe recently signed their first contract to begin growing industrial hemp, a move that is expected to provide much-needed economic stimulus. Partnering with CannaNative, the tribe plans to sell hemp for rope, oil, and construction materials and shrink chronic unemployment and poverty rates. If all goes according to plan, their New Mexico farm could start harvesting homegrown hemp by next season.

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CannaNative will help the Navajo tribe grow hemp in accordance with a new memorandum of understanding. The plan has the potential to be very lucrative given the $800 million global hemp market, which is projected to rise in coming years. According to Forbes, the tribe’s unemployment rate currently stands at 48 percent and the average household income hovers around $8,240. New economic stimulus could potentially improve the tribe’s socioeconomic health.

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Currently, growing hemp in New Mexico – where the farm will be located – is not permitted. However, Anthony Rivera, CannaNative’s chief executive officer, is optimistic that the quality relationship between the Navajo and federal government will make the transition a smooth one. “We are striving for the first, if not the largest hemp crop in the country,” he told Forbes. He also believes growing hemp will become a far more successful venture than the declining gaming industry.

Via Forbes

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