Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
alert featured top story

First legal medical marijuana harvest begins in North Carolina, dispensary coming

  • 0
South Dakota Marijuana Supreme Court

A cannibis plant that is close to harvest grows in a grow room at the Greenleaf Medical Cannabis facility in Richmond, Va., on June 17, 2021. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina has begun harvesting medical marijuana and expects to open the largest medical cannabis retail store in the U.S. next year, tribal officials say.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has begun harvesting medical marijuana and expects to open the largest medical cannabis retail store in the U.S. next year, the tribal official in charge of the operation said Friday.

“I’m really proud of my tribe taking this step, one with the betterment of this community in mind,” said Forrest Parker, general manager of Qualla Enterprises LLC.

Qualla Enterprises is the tribal subsidiary over its budding medical marijuana business on Cherokee land in western North Carolina. The crop is grown in greenhouses.

The tribe will have a more certain opening date for its dispensary around Jan. 1, Parker said.

That’s also when workers will begin retrofitting the old tribal bingo building for the store, he said.

The Cherokee’s medical marijuana operation will eventually employ 400 to 500 workers, adding to a tribal workforce that is already one of the largest in the state at about 7,500 employees, Parker said.

The tribe has already received several hundred applications for medical marijuana jobs, including from neighboring states, he said.

About 40 workers are on the job, roughly 80% of them tribal members, Parker said. Marijuana growing began in the summer, while processing and extraction work has yet to begin, he said.

“Most special to me is the employment opportunity,” Parker said. “We can teach them skills they can use for the rest of their lives in what is a very well-paying industry.”

NC medical marijuana

The tribal council last year approved growing, selling and using medical marijuana on its lands, making their territory the first place in North Carolina where medical cannabis is legal.

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

The council’s approval testified to “the changing attitudes toward legal marijuana and a recognition of the growing body of evidence that supports cannabis as medicine,” Principal Chief Richard Sneed said at the time.

Medical marijuana benefits people who have “debilitating conditions like cancer and chronic pain,” he said.

Only the Carolinas and 11 other states have yet to legalize medical marijuana.

The Cherokee maintain a sovereign nation in Western North Carolina, about an hour west of Asheville, known as the Qualla Boundary.

Though the tribe “has relationships with” the state and federal governments, according to its website, the tribe “is a sovereign nation, meaning it has its own laws, elections, government, institutions, and the like.”

Cherokee medical cannabis plans

The tribe’s EBCI Cannabis Control Board — comprising five individuals with expertise in health care and law enforcement — controls licensing for the cultivation, processing and sale of the marijuana.

The board will issue cards that will allow people to buy marijuana at the dispensary. Medically qualified patients over 21 years old will be able to apply, though so far no more specific information has been released on what kinds of illnesses would allow a person to qualify.

Last year, Cherokee leaders said non-members of the tribe will be permitted to buy medical marijuana as long as they met criteria and receive a card from the control board.

People will be limited to buying one ounce of marijuana per day, not to exceed six ounces per month, or 2,500 milligrams of THC in medical cannabis products per day, not to exceed 10,000 milligrams per month.

THC is the primary psychoactive component in marijuana.

Products at the store will primarily be flower, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates and topicals, according to the tribe’s cannabis website.

0 Comments
* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

The 20-year-old behind the wheel of a parade float truck that killed a young girl at the Raleigh Christmas Parade Saturday faced more than a dozen traffic infraction and vehicle equipment violations in Virginia since 2021 — some as recent as last month. Landen Christopher Glass was driving one of the two trucks towing CC & Co. Dance Complex floats along the parade route when spectators say he ...

After a train slammed into a Texas veterans’ parade in 2012, killing four people and injuring a dozen more, the National Transportation Safety Board urged local governments to overhaul the protections for parade-goers and participants. Chief among its recommendations: requiring parade organizers to submit a written safety plan that includes, among its essential components, provisions for ...

For fans who regularly attend this N.C. high school's football games, the two men standing on the sidelines are a familiar sight. If one were to pass by, however, they would realize two things: that one of the men is blind, and the other is narrating the play-by-play to him.

North Carolina tops a new list of states with the most attacks against drag events this year, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced Wednesday. The report, released In the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar that left five people dead and 18 others injured, shows North Carolina tied with Texas for the most anti-drag protests, threats and ...

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Recommended for you

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert