The Pulse

Medical marijuana approved for use on tribal land in western North Carolina

By: - August 5, 2021 5:38 pm
Medical marijuana. (Getty Images/ Sean Gallup)

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has approved the growth, sale, and use of medical marijuana on tribal land.

Principal Chief Richard Sneed announced Thursday that the Tribal Council had approved an ordinance setting out guidelines for medical marijuana sales and use on the Qualla Boundary, land in western North Carolina controlled by the tribe.

“The Council’s approval of a medical marijuana ordinance is testament to the changing attitudes toward legal medical marijuana and recognition of the growing body of evidence that supports cannabis as medicine, particularly for those with debilitating conditions like cancer and chronic pain,” Sneed said in a statement.

The North Carolina Senate has been debating a medical marijuana bill for the last month. It set for a series of committee hearings before it gets to a vote of the full Senate.

As of May 18, 34 states and four territories allowed people to use medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a sovereign nation.

Sneed called the ordinance a “first step.”

Under the plan, a five-member EBCI Cannabis Control Board will license growth, processing, lab and dispensary locations, according to at news release. Cherokee will have a dispensary.

The board will license workers and will issue cards that allow for medical marijuana purchases.

“Medically qualified” patients 21 and older will be able to apply for cards. It’s unclear what health conditions will qualify people for cards or if people who are not members of the tribe are eligible. A call to the EBCI was not returned Thursday afternoon.

Purchases will be limited to an ounce a day and not more than six ounces a month. The daily THC limit will be 2,500 milligrams per day, or 10,000 milligrams per month. THC is the compound in marijuana responsible for psychoactive effects.

In May, the Tribal Council decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Cherokee One Feather.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Lynn Bonner
Lynn Bonner

Investigative Reporter Lynn Bonner covers the state legislature and politics, as well as elections, the state budget, public and mental health, safety net programs and issues of racial equality.