A historic vote is set to take place tomorrow, 7 September, when The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians head to the polls to vote on adult use cannabis legalisation.
If the vote passes, the territory, which is currently the only place that allows the legal sale of medical cannabis, would be the only place in North Carolina where the purchase of adult use cannabis would be legal, as both medical and recreational cannabis is currently illegal elsewhere in the state.
It would also enable any person over the age of 21 to make a purchase of cannabis, rather than tribe members only.
According to reports, the tribe has already cultivated six tons of cannabis, developed up to 350 products and is turning a disused bingo hall into the “world’s largest medical cannabis dispensary”.
However, a recent development saw North Carolina Congressman Chuck Edwards introduce the The new ‘Stop Pot Act’ that may impact the tribe’s vote. The Stop Pot Act would 10% of federal funds slashed for governments that violate federal law under the Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits recreational cannabis and classifies it as a Schedule I drug.
Responding to Edward’s decision, Principal Chief of The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Richard G. Sneed, stated: In my estimation, Rep. Edwards has overstepped his authority and has made a major political blunder as a federal Representative; a non-Indian, elected official telling a sovereign tribal nation how they ought to handle their business.”
The tribe has received support from Sen. Graig Meyer, who suggested that the fear around cannabis makes people “irrational”.
Writing in Cherokee One Feather, Meyer stated: “Broad majorities of Americans and North Carolinians — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike — agree that the draconian crackdown on drugs has ruined the lives of millions. That destruction continues today and wide swaths of Americans know drug prohibition went too far and has failed to make the U.S. a healthier, more prosperous place. Those numbers include upward of 80 percent of Republicans. So this should not be viewed as a partisan issue.
“North Carolina’s prohibition on cannabis is used primarily to discriminate against and jail people of color, as Governor Cooper’s racial equity task force research has shown.
“The Cherokee tribe could break ground in North Carolina by allowing for legal, regulated cannabis use. I’m jealous. While I have long favored cannabis legalisation and have pushed my colleagues in the state legislature to move North Carolina forward on this issue, there has been no significant progress.”