Sales of marijuana for medicinal use begin in North Carolina

Sales of marijuana for medicinal use begin in North Carolina

Medical marijuana can now be purchased legally in North Carolina and the tribe Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will open its long-planned dispensary on tribal lands this weekend.

Hundreds of people, many with approved patient medical cards to purchase items, celebrated the historic opening of Great Smoky Cannabis Co. Saturday within the land of the Eastern Band tribe known as Qualla Boundaryreported the Asheville Citizen-Times. Saturday was April 20, also known as “420 Day,” or the annual day to celebrate marijuana.

The ceremony marks the latest liberalization of marijuana rules by the tribe, which in 2021 decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis within its 89 square miles (231 square kilometers) of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tribe also formed a medical marijuana system that included a business created by the tribe to grow cannabis and sell it, making financial profits for tribal members and helping those with medical conditions.

“This project will change the trajectory of their lives forever”Forrest Parker, CEO of Qualla Enterprises, the tribal company that operates the dispensary, said during the opening ceremony. “It will be a conduit for generations of social, economic and spiritual growth, the likes of which has never been seen before.”

The Eastern Band tribe, with about 14,000 members, can pass rules allowing cannabis as a sovereign nation and federally recognized tribe. Marijuana use remains illegal in the rest of North Carolina. Still, Republican U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Ted Budd have raised concerns with federal and state authorities about whether drug laws will continue to be enforced with the dispensary in mind. In recent years, the North Carolina General Assembly has considered a state medical marijuana bill.

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