Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Legalizes Cannabis

Citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina voted on Thursday to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) on Thursday voted to legalize cannabis, WSOC-TV reports. The vote was 2,464-1,057, according to the unofficial poll results.  

EBCI is the only territory in North Carolina where cannabis is legal. In July, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said that the medical cannabis legalization bill being considered by lawmakers was likely dead for the session and the proposal has not gotten any additional movement in the legislature. 

Workers near Cherokee told WSOC-TV that they have been growing cannabis plants for the last year preparing for the tribe to enact the reforms, they estimate that they have more than 4 tons of plants. ECBI has 57,000 acres of land inside North Carolina. 

The tribe legalized medical cannabis in 2021 and the first medical cannabis dispensary is expected to open in the fall, EBCI Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Joey Owle told Blue Ridge Public Radio. 

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) introduced legislation to withhold some federal funds from states and tribes that allow adult cannabis use. The law is a reaction to the planned vote by EBCI. The action would not apply to states and tribes that legalize or have legalized cannabis for medical use. 

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