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North Carolina’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens For Business

QUALLA BOUNDARY, NC – It was a marijuana milestone in North Carolina over the weekend when the state’s first-ever medical cannabis dispensary opened for business, ABC News and the Asheville Citizen-Times report.

On Saturday, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened its dispensary on tribal land within the Eastern Band land known as the Qualla Boundary, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hundreds of people lined up to purchase packaged cannabis from The Great Smoky Cannabis Dispensary, the only dispensary in the state where marijuana can be legally purchased.  It was an appropriate occasion for the grand opening, falling on the marijuana holiday of 4/20.

In 2021, the band’s Tribal Council voted to legalize small amounts of medical marijuana in the Qualla Boundary. The band’s laws apply only on tribal land, as marijuana remains illegal in the rest of North Carolina.

To purchase from the dispensary, buyers must be 21 or older and have an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians medical cannabis patient card or an approved medical marijuana card from a different state.

Medical marijuana legislation passed the North Carolina Senate in 2022 and 2023 but in each case the state House of Representatives adjourned without hearing the bills.

Under the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians system, a business was created in which the tribe sells cannabis it grows locally at the Cooper’s Creek Farm.

“We’re just proud to be the first to enter into this industry, but in this opportunity, it’s pretty much a people’s opportunity. We’re cultivators of people, not just plants, and that’s really important to us,” said Forrest Parker, the general manager for the Great Smoky Cannabis Company. “Everything we’re doing is for our people. To be able to do that for our people and with our people right here, right here, is the most special opportunity that anyone, me as a tribal member, could have.”

This story is just one of many you’ll find in the Cannabis News section of Cannabutter Digest, your go-to resource for all things cannabis-related. Check out our site to find tasty recipes, useful product reviews, and so much more!

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