Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Moves Closer to North Carolina Medical Cannabis Sales

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is nearly set to commence medical cannabis sales in North Carolina after delivering a resolution outlining its plan to state lawmakers.

Full story after the jump.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is moving closer toward selling medical cannabis within its Qualla Boundary in North Carolina after sending a resolution to the state Legislature last week, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports. The Tribe legalized medical cannabis within its borders in 2021 but has not yet commenced sales.

The resolution sent to state lawmakers provides them with the legal language “to further the agenda effectively and efficiently coordinating in the administration of medical cannabis laws across the jurisdictions of the state of North Carolina and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” the report says. 

During the council meeting, EBCI Chief Richard Sneed explained that sending the resolution ”just grants permission … to talk to them about medical cannabis, and the subsequent North Carolina law that will probably be on the floor during the next general assembly.”  

“All this is, it is as a matter of tribal law, before anybody does any work engaging with the state or federal legislature, we have to have permission of the governing legislative body to do so.” — Sneed via the Citizen Times 

In the 2021 vote, EBCI tribal council members voted 8-4 to legalize medical cannabis. The following year, Qualla Enterprises LLC, a Tribe company, set up a website seeking to hire people for medical cannabis operations. An EBCI-funded Cannabis Control Board will manage licensing, audits, standards, investigations, and annual reports for the operation, according to EBCI’s medical marijuana code. 

“EBCI Farms will be the source for all of its products that are sold to the public. Everything from seed to sale begins here. Being vertically integrated means that EBCI produces everything from seed to sale,” the website states. “Processing the cannabis plant is a key step in drying and manicuring the finished product as well as producing material to further process into oils and other concentrates. Edibles use refined oils to determine how much THC is in each product.” 

The Tribal code includes a narrow set of qualifying conditions and is only open to individuals 21-and-older. The program will open first only to tribal members. 

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