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  • Christopher D.

Cherokees in North Carolina Approve the Use of Marijuana: Will the State Legalize it Soon?

Medical marijuana is now legal and accessible for the vast majority of Americans, but North Carolina remains a stubborn holdout. Despite the ongoing prohibition, recent developments within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have sparked hope for broader legalization in the state. With the tribe's approval of recreational marijuana use on their lands, North Carolina might be on the cusp of significant change.

The Cherokee Tribe Leads the Way

In a historic move, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina approved the recreational use and sale of marijuana on their lands. This decision followed a September referendum, where 70% of tribe members voted in favor of adult-use marijuana. The tribe's governing board quickly acted, passing an ordinance that expanded approved use just weeks after their medical marijuana dispensary opened.

The Great Smoky Cannabis Co., the tribe owned dispensary, opened on April 20, offering medical marijuana to adults with a tribe medical marijuana patient card or an out-of-state approved medical marijuana card. With the new ordinance, recreational sales will soon be lawful for any adult over 21 who visits the reservation, starting with tribal members in July and expanding to the general public by mid-August.

The dispensary is expected to be a significant revenue generator for the 14,000 member tribe, with projections estimating $385 million in gross sales revenues in its first year if available to all adult users, compared to over $200 million if limited to medical patients.

North Carolina's Marijuana Landscape

Currently, marijuana possession and use remain illegal in North Carolina, except for hemp extracts like CBD oil. The state does not yet allow medical marijuana, although a state Senate bill known as the Compassionate Care Act aims to change that by permitting access for patients with specific illnesses.

The Compassionate Care Act, if passed, would enable patients suffering from conditions such as severe seizures, terminal cancers, and Parkinson's disease to obtain medical marijuana. This bill represents a crucial step toward aligning North Carolina with the majority of states that have recognized the medical benefits of marijuana.

Why Medical Marijuana Is the Right Choice

Medical marijuana offers numerous benefits for patients with various conditions and should be legalized in North Carolina. It has proven effective in managing chronic pain, reducing seizures, and alleviating symptoms of severe illnesses, providing a natural alternative where traditional medications often fall short or come with severe side effects. 

Compared to many pharmaceutical drugs, medical marijuana tends to have fewer and less severe side effects, which is crucial for patients managing multiple medications. Furthermore, it helps manage pain, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep, contributing to better overall well-being and quality of life. Medical marijuana can reduce reliance on addictive opioid medications, offering a safer alternative for pain management.

A medical marijuana card provides legal protection to possess and use medical marijuana within a state’s guidelines. This ensures access to regulated, high-quality products from licensed dispensaries, eliminating risks from unregulated sources. The card also involves consultation with a healthcare provider, ensuring safe and effective use of medical marijuana. That's where we come in!

Will North Carolina Follow the Cherokee Example?

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' decision to legalize recreational marijuana use on their lands has put pressure on North Carolina to reconsider its stance on marijuana. The move by the Cherokee is a significant step forward, demonstrating the economic and social benefits of legalization.

The projected revenues from the Great Smoky Cannabis Co. highlight the economic potential of marijuana legalization. These funds could support various community initiatives, including healthcare, education, and infrastructure projects, benefiting the state as a whole.

Legalizing marijuana can also address social justice issues, such as the disproportionate impact of drug enforcement on communities of color. By decriminalizing marijuana, North Carolina can reduce arrests and convictions for minor drug offenses, which often have long lasting negative consequences.

North Carolina is surrounded by states that have embraced marijuana in some form. Virginia allows for the legal recreational use of marijuana statewide. By legalizing marijuana, North Carolina would align itself with these progressive policies, fostering regional consistency and reducing cross-border marijuana trafficking.


The key to legalization in North Carolina lies in political will and public support. Advocates must continue to educate lawmakers and the public about the benefits of medical and recreational marijuana. Public opinion polls consistently show strong support for legalization, indicating that the people of North Carolina are ready for change.

The Cherokee's approval of recreational marijuana use on their lands is a historic step that could influence broader legalization efforts in North Carolina. With the Compassionate Care Act on the horizon and increasing public support, the state may soon join the growing list of those recognizing the benefits of marijuana.

Legalizing medical marijuana is a crucial first step, offering relief to thousands of patients, addressing social justice issues, and generating significant economic benefits. As North Carolina moves forward, it is essential to continue advocating for sensible and compassionate marijuana policies that prioritize the health and well-being of its residents.

Get Ready for Medical Marijuana

Although medical marijuana is still not legal in North Carolina, it may be legalized soon! You should be sure you are prepared for the program to become operational as soon as possible. In order to do this, you will need to get your medical marijuana card.

Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our compassionate doctors just as soon as North Carolina’s medical marijuana market is fully operational.

You and your new doctor will meet virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll learn all about how medical marijuana may be able to help your conditions, without even leaving the comfort and safety of your own home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7320, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

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