North Carolina tribe begins first legal medical cannabis harvest in the state

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A Cherokee tribe in North Carolina has started harvesting medical cannabis and expects to open a large MMJ retail store next year.

According to The Charlotte Observer, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is harvesting on tribal lands about an hour west of Asheville, which is the first Native American territory in the state where medical marijuana is being grown.

Qualla Enterprises, the tribal subsidiary of the business, plans to employ 400-500 workers when the company is fully operational, General Manager Forrest Parker told the Observer.

The tribe will have a more solid date for the dispensary opening next year, Parker added.

The tribe’s EBCI Cannabis Control Board will regulate marijuana business licensing and will issue MMJ cards.

Qualified patients 21 and older will be able to apply.

Tribal leaders have told the Observer that nonmembers of the tribe will be allowed to buy medical marijuana as long as they have a card and meet specific criteria.

Patients will be limited to 1 ounce of marijuana per day, not to exceed 6 ounces per month, or 2,500 milligrams of THC in a product per day, not to exceed 10,000 milligrams per month.

Available products will primarily be flower, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates and topicals, the Observer reported.

The tribe, which generally is not subject to North Carolina laws, is getting a head start on creating an MMJ industry since a proposal for a state-approved, legalized industry stalled in the Legislature in 2021.

North Carolina has been growing industrial hemp since 2017 after creating a legal industry.