Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council approves recreational marijuana sale

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council has approved recreational marijuana sales on the Qualla Boundary.

The move is an expansion of medical marijuana sales that started at the tribe’s Great Smoky Cannabis Company dispensary in April. The Tribal Council vote on Thursday comes nine months after 70% of Cherokee voters approved a referendum to legalize the use and possession of cannabis by adults age 21 or older.

Tribal council passed a resolution to regulate the sale of recreational cannabis as well as two floor amendments. Two council members, out of the twelve who sit around the horseshoe, voted against the measure: Council member Dike Sneed and Vice Chairman David Wolfe. Council member Adam Wachacha was not present.

Three council members were opposed to the home-grow floor amendment.

The amendment was updated during tribal council to include that home-grow will only be allowed for enrolled tribal members with medical cards who do not live with minors. The maximum amount of plants that can be grown is four.

An amendment to prohibit the sale of hemp products by non-tribally owned businesses on the boundary was also accepted by tribal council.

The resolution now goes to Principal Chief Michell Hicks’ desk for review before being signed into law.

Since the voter referendum, Tribal Council has had multiple meetings to work through the details of implementing recreational marijuana on the Boundary. The tribe approved adult use in a September 2023 referendum.

Voters first approved the sale of medical cannabis in a 2021 referendum.

Recently, community members have expressed frustration at the slow-moving process toward wider adult use.



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