Native American tribe in North Carolina legalizes medical cannabis

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians legalized its own medical marijuana market this week, likely providing the first foothold for the cannabis industry in the state of North Carolina.

According to The Charlotte Observer, the tribe said its decision, announced Thursday, reflects the growing recognition that cannabis has medicinal value.

But details of how exactly the Cherokee medical marijuana market will function were not immediately available, the newspaper reported, including information on:

  • How the industry will be structured.
  • What medical ailments will qualify patients to purchase MMJ.
  • Whether the medicine will be sold to patients who aren’t members of the tribe.

“Passing this ordinance is just the first step, but we are excited to begin building this program,” Principal Chief Richard Sneed told The Charlotte Observer.

The tribe’s Cannabis Control Board will handle business licensing for the program as well as patient certification.

The program also marks the latest Native American move into the industry.

Other tribes in various states across the country have been running marijuana companies for years, particularly in markets that have their own functional medical or recreational cannabis markets.

Attempts at legalizing MMJ through the North Carolina Legislature have thus far been met with defeat, but another measure to do so is still alive in a legislative committee as of Aug. 5, The Charlotte Observer reported.