Council passes ordinance on medical marijuana – The Cherokee One Feather
By SCOTT MCKIE BP
Staff with a feather
After six years of wrangling over the issue, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is entering the world of medical cannabis (marijuana). The Tribal Council passed an ordinance in the regular session on Thursday, August 5 that establishes legislation in the Cherokee Code for the regulation of industry on EBCI tribal lands.
Ord. No. 539, submitted by Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed; Jeremy Wilson, EBCI Government Affairs Liaison; and Joey Owle, EBCI Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary; states in part: “… it is in the best interest of the tribe to continue to advance the policy allowing responsible access to small amounts of marijuana to be used safely for medical and health purposes”.
Ord. n ° 539 (2021)
Ord. No. 539 floor amendments
The ordinance was passed by a weighted vote of 74-26 as follows: YEAS – Wolftown Rep. Chelsea Saunooke, Birdtown Rep. Albert Rose, Wolftown Rep. Bo Crowe, Big Cove Rep. Richard French, Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell, Birdtown representing Boyd Owle, Chairman Adam Wachacha Tribal Council, Cherokee Co. – representing Snowbirds Bucky Brown; AGAINST – Painttown Rep Tommye Saunooke, Painttown Rep Dike Sneed, Vice President David Wolfe and Yellowhill Rep Tom Wahnetah.
After the passage, Wilson, a former tribal council representative who worked on the cannabis issue during his tenure, told One Feather: “Today’s decision by the tribal council to adopt medical marijuana shows the progression of leadership and forward-looking vision. I sincerely want to show my appreciation to the Council for its support and put the tribe on the path of true economic diversification, but also finally bring a solution to the fight against opioids and provide relief to our people without worrying about serious side effects or of outbuildings.
He added, “A sincere thank you to Chief Sneed for believing in us and being a supporting level in this effort. Joey (Owle) and I were dedicated to making this happen because we understood the opportunity for our tribe and our people. We understand the degree of responsibility it will take to ensure this is done effectively and efficiently. Just as we are committed to making it happen, we will also be dedicated to making it work. “
The legislation details the licensing process for “medical cannabis establishments” as well as “medical cannabis establishment agents”. It also establishes detailed regulations for the issuance of “medical cannabis patient cards” to those who are 21 years of age or older and who are eligible for the program.
During the debate on the issue on Thursday, Chief Sneed called it a “matter of compassion” and added, “We are sovereign, and if we are to be sovereign, we have to do this, exercise our sovereignty. This is what our people are asking for.
He commented on the legality of the program stating that tribal members will understand the limits. “Everyone understands that if you go out of the border with it, it’s still illegal. We are adults, we understand that.
Representative Rose brought forward the motion to pass the ordinance indicating that the legislation was purposely “overburdened” with regulations to keep the industry running smoothly within the tribe. “It won’t just be another source of income for us. This will help our registered members with medical conditions.
Rob Saunooke, EBCI tribal member and lawyer, said he has been involved in the cannabis industry for a few years now in consultation with other tribes and warns the EBCI. “I’m trying to find out why we are considering passing an ordinance to authorize cannabis, which is currently illegal under federal law. If you open a facility today and give cannabis to tribal members, the tribe, the members, the people who do, will be subject to arrest. This is an illegal action, and nothing can change that at this time.
He went on to say, “This is a premature attempt to create a currently illegal industry. I think we need to spend our time and effort elsewhere doing things that are more productive for what our people need right now. “
Saunooke, along with Representative Tommye Saunooke who has expressed support for medicinal cannabis in the past, called for legislation to be tabled for further discussion.
Secretary Owle then spoke and said, “What a wonderful day to write history – to exercise our sovereignty. If this was an issue for the federal government regarding the legalization of cannabis, it would have raised it with the 36 states, the four territories that allow medical cannabis. He reportedly approached it with the 18 states, two territories and the District of Columbia that legalized it for adult use.
“We’ve been working on this for six years – talking to all of you, advocating for cannabis law reform. And, today, the questions that I think are the most relevant and relevant are not why it is illegal at the federal level or what these risks are. These were requested as is. They were questioned by the district attorney for the West North Carolina district. Today’s questions to ask are: “Why do patients find this useful?” And “how can we provide them with safe and reliable access?” “
The ordinance establishes the EBCI Cannabis Advisory Board, which will be responsible for “studying issues related to cannabis and making recommendations to the EBCI Cannabis Control Board, the Tribal Council and the Chief Chief regarding the regulation of medical cannabis and any activity related to cannabis ”.
The Commission is the most recent incarnation of the idea, as a previous Cannabis Commission was approved in December 2019.
The following people will serve on the Commission: Senior Chief (or Representative), Tribal Council President (or Representative), Community Club President (or Representative), EBCI Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary (or Representative) ), EBCI Secretary for Public Health and Services (or Representative), Chief of Cherokee Indian Police Department (or Representative) and Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (or Representative).
The legislation also establishes the EBCI Cannabis Control Board. The Principal Chief will appoint the five-member council members who will be subject to confirmation by the tribal council. Three of the five members must be EBCI tribal members or members of another federally recognized tribe.
The Board will be composed of a chartered accountant; an expert in investigation, financial audit or corporate compliance; a licensed lawyer; an expert in the cannabis industry; and a licensed physician.
Ord. No. 593 also amends Article 105-3 of the Cherokee Code and adds “sales of cannabis made in accordance with Chapter 17 of the Cherokee Code”, these things being exempt from tribal levy.
This latest legislation is the result of years of work and disputes with various resolutions regarding cannabis. One of the last was Res. No. 323 (2020) which was adopted on October 29, 2020 and called on the EBCI Executive Committee to draft “legislation to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes on the border of Qualla de la as practical, responsible and legal as possible ”.
This legislation also stated: “There is evidence that, when properly regulated and used responsibly, medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic illnesses and conditions, including: epilepsy, seizures, muscle spasms, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, nausea, pain, complications. linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease and certain mental health problems.