From Bingo Hall to Cannabis Dispensary in North Carolina
Recently, we received a moving letter requesting advice about medical marijuana in North Carolina.
“At Cherokee tribal lands, applications for medical cannabis are being accepted. However, I don’t have a doctor to complete the required attestation form. I’ve been suffering from chronic back pain for over 30 years, stemming from laminectomy surgery for ruptured discs. I’ve battled opioid medications on and off during that time, but they only led to more problems and dependency. Cannabis has proven to be highly effective. Also, I have severe neuropathy in my feet due to diabetes, and cannabis also provides relief from the pain. Being on disability with a very low income, I don’t have access to specialist doctors for these conditions. My primary care provider is a basic PA who hasn’t been addressing these issues. Unfortunately, he holds strong religious and close-minded views about cannabis, making it impossible to seek help from him in this situation.”
Tribal and Non-Tribal Members Allowed Access to Medical Marijuana
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina is opening a groundbreaking medical marijuana dispensary on their sovereign land. Skip Qualla Enterprises, LLC, is spearheading the cannabis initiative with a thriving medical marijuana farm and the upcoming grand opening of the much-anticipated dispensary boasting medical marijuana on tribal land.
Recently, hundreds of tribal members lined up to glimpse the tribe’s first medical marijuana dispensary which has taken shape from a former bingo hall on tribal land. Without a doubt, the excitement is palatable due to the potential the dispensary holds for bolstering the tribe’s local economy. It holds the promise of not only offering medicinal marijuana to those who need it but also of creating much-needed jobs and bringing economic growth/opportunities to the entire tribe.
The dispensary doors are slated to open for business later this year. However, will medical marijuana be available to non-tribal members? We are happy to say ‘yes!’.
In a recent interview with NC Newsline, Jeremy Wilson, the governmental affairs liaison for Principal Chief Richard Sneed, individuals, whether tribal members or not, will be allowed to obtain doses of medical marijuana, with a limit of up to one ounce per day and no more than six ounces per month. To regulate this process, a five-member Cannabis Control Board will issue identification cards to eligible individuals, who must be 21 years or older and possess medical records confirming the presence of specific qualifying conditions.
These qualifying conditions include a wide range of medical conditions such as:
- AIDS/HIV – including any HIV-related health problems
- Anxiety Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Autoimmune Disease
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Opioid Dependency or Addiction
- Wasting Disease
- Muscle Spasms
- Seizures (such as epilepsy-induced seizures and others)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe Chronic Pain
- Neuropathic Conditions
- And any other medical condition that has been deemed debilitating or chronic.
The dispensary located in Cherokee offers convenient access to medical marijuana for eligible individuals within the tribal community and beyond to non-tribal individuals. This initiative not only marks a significant milestone for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians but also demonstrates their commitment to providing essential healthcare options to anyone in need.
Jeremy Wilson further emphasized that smoking cannabis in public areas, including the casino, will be strictly prohibited. Also, tribal or non-tribal individuals who venture beyond tribal boundaries with their marijuana purchases will remain subject to the prevailing state laws. Currently, in North Carolina, possessing an ounce of marijuana is categorized as a misdemeanor.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ transformation of a former bingo hall into a state-of-the-art medical marijuana dispensary signifies a landmark achievement in accessible healthcare and local economic growth. This transformative initiative holds promise for both tribal and non-tribal members struggling with a wide array of health problems.