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Cherokee legalizes medical marijuana

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“This is a compassionate care issue,” said Principal Chief Richard Sneed, one of the ordinance’s three submitters. “This is an issue for people who have chronic pain, for people who have cancer and who are in chemotherapy and can’t eat, for people who have PTSD, for soldiers who have come back from combat, for those who are battling opiod addiction. This is the off-ramp.”

The ordinance creates a new Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cannabis Advisory Commission that will study cannabis-related issues and make regulatory recommendations. Meanwhile, a new EBCI Cannabis Control Board will set the regulations.

The law allows for licensure of dispensaries where people holding valid medical cannabis patient cards will be able to acquire cannabis products. Dispensaries may not be within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school or community facility such as a park, playground, day care, swimming pool, community club building or church. The Control Board will be responsible for establishing a program to issue the cards, which may be given only to people age 21 and older. If the person’s health care provider later diagnoses them as no longer having the condition that originally qualified them for the card, the person must return the card.

During the first three years that the law is in effect, medical cannabis cardholders will be limited to buying one ounce of medical marijuana per day and 6 ounces per month. There will be a limit of 2,500 milligrams of THC in medical cannabis products sold to an individual cardholder per day and 10,000 milligrams per month. Additionally, there may not be more than two medical cannabis dispensary locations, and only Kituwah Medical LLC — an entity wholly owned by the EBCI — or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries may be issued medical cannabis establishment licenses.

Once the three-year period ends, the Control Board may consider policies in conflict with those to be stipulated for the initial 36 months.

Source: Smokey Mountain News

Image: Unsplashed

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