Qualla Enterprises LLC, a medical cannabis firm set up and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is set to receive $63 million following a Tribal Council vote on December 9, Smoky Mountain News reports. The money will fund staffing increases at the company as well as a new indoor grow site and retail facility. The council also voted to fill two vacant board seats and set pay rates for Qualla Enterprises’ board of managers.
In a statement to the Tribal Council, Qualla Enterprises’ general manager Forrest Parker expressed gratitude for the funding and for the council’s faith in the firm:
“It gives us a lot of confidence that we’re surrounded by people that have done this so many times, that have the experience, that have the understanding. This tribe, I’m so proud of us for putting us in a position to learn from other people’s mistakes so that when we do this right, that number is precise. It’s not $150 million because we’re trying to cover all these things that we don’t know. We actually feel like we actually know.” — Parker, via Smoky Mountain News
The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma announced plans in 2020 to study the potential ramifications of major cannabis and hemp policy reforms while last May, the Tribal Council for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina approved both medical cannabis legalization and the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis by adults aged 21 or older.
Qualla Enterprises is currently approved for just medical cannabis sales but an expansion to adult-use cannabis may be possible later down the line.
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