North Carolina tribe to launch medical marijuana sales

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A Native American tribe in North Carolina this week plans to issue the state’s first medical marijuana cards.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will first start issuing MMJ cards for enrolled tribal patients, then will allow other North Carolina residents to apply, according to Charlotte TV station WCNC.

That pecking order is significant since an MMJ legalization bill advanced in North Carolina’s Legislature earlier this year but was ultimately defeated by Republican lawmakers.

Medical marijuana is in great demand among the EBCI: The tribal nation has already received more than 1,000 MMJ card applications, WCNC reported.

The MMJ developments come about a month after EBCI members voted to legalize recreational marijuana on their territory.

Native American tribes are often the first to launch sales in legal marijuana markets since most operate outside the purview of state-run regulatory agencies.

In Minnesota, for example, NativeCare was the first cannabis retailer in the state to launch adult-use sales, having done so in early August on the remote Red Lake Nation.

States such as ArizonaNevada and New York also have tribal nations that have established cannabis retail.