North Carolina tribe could launch adult-use marijuana sales in 30-75 days

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A Native American tribe in North Carolina that began medical marijuana sales less than two months ago now is preparing to launch an adult-use market.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Tribal Council voted Thursday to amend Tribal Code to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, the Smoky Mountain News reported.

Ordinance 63, which changes Tribal Code to allow adult-use sales in addition to medical cannabis sales, passed by an 8-2 vote, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.

Marijuana illegal in NC, but …

Marijuana remains illegal in North Carolina, but Native American tribes such as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) are permitted to establish marijuana programs on tribal lands outside the scope and enforcement of state officials.

The EBCI began MMJ sales on April 20 at a 10,000-square-foot dispensary, Great Smoky Cannabis Co., on the Qualla Boundary.

The dispensary is overseen by Qualla Enterprises.

Rec sales delay

Recreational sales on EBCI land will not be immediate.

The EBCI are looking at “30-45 days” before tribal members can buy recreational products and a “60-75-day range” for the general public, Qualla Enterprises General Manager Forrest Parker said during a May 30 work session, according to the Citizen Times.

Thursday’s decision by the Tribal Council was set up last September, when EBCI members approved adult-use sales by a vote of roughly 2,400 to 1,000.

Once recreational marijuana sales begin, the tribe’s MMJ program will continue to serve consumers with EBCI-issued cards, including non-tribal North Carolina residents 21 and older, according to the Smoky Mountain News.