May 22, 2022

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Sale of medicinal cannabis is legal on Cherokee-controlled tribal land

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Selling cannabis for any use is illegal in North Carolina with one exception – Cherokee, where it is legal for medicinal purposes on land controlled by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians known as the Qualla Boundary.

Medical marijuana is now legal to sell and grow in one part of North Carolina.

According to a statement by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, cannabis is legal on Cherokee land. On August 5, the Tribal Council approved an ordinance legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes in the city of Cherokee, also known as the Qualla Boundary.

“The council’s approval of a medical marijuana regulation is evidence of changing attitudes towards legal marijuana and recognition of the growing evidence supporting cannabis as a medicine, especially for people with debilitating conditions like cancer and chronic pain,” said Principal Chief Richard Sneed said in a statement.

Tribal members and non-members who qualify can receive referrals and eventually purchase medicinal cannabis from a pharmacy within the Qualla border. According to the regulation, patients can buy up to one ounce per day or no more than six ounces per month.

Cherokee is home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and has its own sovereign government.


The decision comes after North Carolina lawmakers considered legalizing cannabis across the state through Senate Bill 711, which would have to be passed by both houses of the General Assembly and signed by Governor Roy Cooper.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of May, there are 36 states and four territories where medical cannabis is legal. Eighteen states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have passed laws regulating recreational cannabis. North Carolina is one of 14 US states that banned the sale of marijuana – medical or recreational -.

Aaliyah Bowden, The Post’s health officer, is a member of the Report for America corps.

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