The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in North Carolina have, for the first time, issued medical marijuana cards to qualifying patients.
The EBCI has approved 817 of the 1,005 applications it received for those wanting to become legal medical marijuana patients on tribal land. Having a medical card will allow patients to purchase marijuana and marijuana products at the tribe’s medical marijuana superstore, which cost over $50 million to establish and is expected to open in the coming weeks. Once open, it will be the only location in North Carolina where any form of marijuana can be legally purchased.
Last month members of the EBCI voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal that will lead to recreational marijuana becoming legal for everyone 21 and older regardless of whether or not they are a tribal member or have a qualifying medical marijuana condition.
Specifically, the referendum asked voters: “Do you support legalizing the possession and use of cannabis for persons who are at least twenty-one (21) years old, and require the EBCI Tribal Council to develop legislation to regulate the market?”
The measure passed with 70% support.
Although the referendum is not binding, the tribe’s council says they will follow the will of voters and legalize recreational marijuana, but a timeframe has not yet been established.
The tribe’s reservation consists of nearly 57,000 acres covering five counties; Cherokee, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain Counties.