The voters of Arizona approved Proposition 203 in 2010 legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Recreational marijuana remains illegal. Proposition 205 in November 2016 attempted to legalize recreational use but was defeated with 48.7% of the vote. Recreational adult-use of marijuana was approved by voters in the Nov. 2020 election.
Hemp is a variety of Cannabis plant grown for industrial use.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow tribes to self-administer hemp production on their reservations if they submit an acceptable plan. See U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.
USDA-Approved Hemp Plans - Arizona
|Colorado River Indian Tribes||Approved Plan|
|State of Arizona||Pending resubmission|
The DOJ marijuana policy on tribal reservations applies to these Arizona tribes. Each is federally recognized as sovereign by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department.
For a list of all Arizona tribes and their locations, see our page about Arizona Tribes.
Most tribes are considering the potential opportunites of the marijuana industry. The Navajo Nation is moving towards production of medical marijuana and hemp. Hemp is the fiber of the cannabis plant used in making rope and course fabrics.
July 1, 2017
The Navajo Nation Council Health, Education, and Human Services Committee voted unanimously 4-0 to allow the production of cannabis and hemp. The issue now passes to the Resources and Development Committee for review and approval. Final approval will be made by the Navajo Nation Council.
October 13, 2020
A new amendment to the Navajo Nation Criminal Code has changed the legal definition of marijuana to mean the entire cannabis plant including hemp.
The amendment imposes serious penalties for the use, possession, sale or transportation of cannabis including the civil forfeiture of property and the loss of employment for convicted Navajo officials.
February 20, 2020
The Colorado River Indian Tribes will host a public hearing Feb. 25 to consider adopting a proposed ordinance for growing industrial hemp on reservation lands.
The announcement for the hearing cites the purpose of the ordinance:
To promote the production of hemp on Tribal land and the development of new commercial markets for Tribal enterprises through the sale of hemp products.
To establish a regulatory framework for Tribal hemp production which maximizes opportunities for the growth of the hemp industry on Tribal land consistent with Tribal and Federal law.
To enable the Tribes, its licensees, and affiliated institutions of higher education, to conduct research regarding the production of hemp on Tribal lands.
To ensure that hemp production on Tribal lands causes minimal impacts to the environment, human health and safety, and is consistent with Tribal laws and customs.
The proposed ordinance will comply with the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and the USDA's Interim Final Rule for establishing a hemp production program on tribal lands.
Hemp cultivation may be a highly profitable business in Arizona because hemp fabric is more durable than cotton and requires far less water and pesticides to cultivate.
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