Eastern Band of Cherokee Council Approves North Carolina Legislature Medical Marijuana Market Discussions

The foundation is being laid for what might be a booming medical cannabis market in the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by the year 2023.

EBCI Council members approved a resolution on January 12 allowing the legal language on the regulation of medical marijuana to be sent to N.C. General Assembly “to further the agenda effectively and efficiently coordinating in the administration of medical cannabis laws across the jurisdictions of the state of North Carolina,” after it became legal in 2021 and before it became more widely available to buy and sell within its boundaries.

On January 12th, EBCI Director Richard Sneed gave a brief presentation to the council on the subject.

All this means, he explained, is that under tribal law, “we have to acquire the permission of the governing legislative body to do so” before working with state or federal lawmakers.

Any chief or deputy chief of the tribal council who goes to Raleigh or Washington, D.C., needs what are effectively orders from above. We’re in Raleigh advocating for a new medical cannabis law, and this just gives us the green light to talk to legislators about the issue when it comes up.

Dike Sneed, one of two council members who spoke to the chief before the vote, questioned the chief’s usage of the phrase “a majority of tribal people favour the proper regulation.”

Councilman Sneed questioned Chief Sneed on how the chief knew there was widespread support for his plan to legalise medical marijuana under strict regulations among tribal members.

In response, Chief Sneed mentioned that the majority of council members supported the change.

In the middle of 2021, a vote of 8-4 in the Council authorised the groundbreaking move toward legalisation. Sneed voted no on the bill, one of only four on the council to do so.

Eastern Band of Cherokee council approves North Carolina legislature medical marijuana market discussions

Chief Sneed pointed out that his language in the resolution from January 12 referred to council members as representatives of constituencies; if a majority of them voted in favour of the legislation, that indicated popular support.

Teresa McCoy, a council member, made a motion in favour of the resolution because she wanted to have a voice in discussions about medical cannabis regulation at the state level.

Other than in the Cherokee Nation, the closest states to North Carolina that allow the selling of medical marijuana are Virginia and Alabama.

The vote came on the heels of other major developments in the Qualla Boundary’s efforts to launch a cannabis sector.

Qualla Enterprises LLC launched a website in late 2022, advertising a major expansion into recruitment.

At some point in the future around 2023, Qualla Enterprises will be in charge of running the medicinal cannabis operation.

The website claims that the final product would have an “organic” look and feel.

Everything offered to consumers “will come directly from EBCI Farms,” the document adds. Everything from the seed to the sale starts here. EBCI is fully vertically integrated, meaning they produce from seed to sale.

The drying and grooming of the finished product, as well as the production of material for further processing into oils and other concentrates, all rely on the cannabis plant being processed. The amount of THC in edibles is calculated using refined oils.

As to the EBCI medical marijuana code, a Cannabis Control Board sponsored by the organisation will oversee licences, audits, standards, investigations, and yearly reports.

Many restrictions on who can acquire medicinal marijuana from EBCI vendors are outlined in the code, as reported by USA TODAY.

According to the ordinance, adults over the age of 21 with one of the qualifying medical conditions listed below (and in possession of the tribe’s medical cannabis patient cards) will have access to the dispensaries run by the tribe.

Anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, autoimmune illnesses, anorexia nervosa, cancer, opioid dependency or addiction, glaucoma, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are all examples of diseases that can be caused by a compromised immune system.

Cachexia (wasting syndrome), muscle spasms (including MS-related spasms), seizures (including epilepsy-related convulsions), nausea, and acute or persistent pain can all be side effects of a medical disease or its treatment.

  • Human immunodeficiency virus-related illness.
  • To be specific, a neuropathic disorder.
  • The condition is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Potential future expansion to include additional medical disorders and their respective therapies.
  • The Control Board, which registers patients to use medical cannabis, may evaluate applicants’ medical information before issuing registration cards. The use of a card will be required in order to buy cannabis from EBCI vendors.

For the time being, only EBCI members will be able to apply for those cards.


Mohit Sharma

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