The Cherokee Eastern Band Tribal Council voted Thursday to legalize medicinal cannabis and adult possession of up to 21 ounces by adults 21 and older, Spectrum News 1 reports Chief Richard Sneed said the vote was the first for broader reforms.

“There is so much science now that supports cannabis as medicine. This is really a quality of life issue even for people with debilitating diseases, chronic pain, chronic back pain, and cancer. This is really just the first step, or some kind of cornerstone, on the path to medicine. We must have that first. “- Sneed to Spectrum News

The nation’s land covers approximately 100 square miles in the mountains of western North Carolina known as the Qualla Boundary. While possession of half an ounce or less can only be fined in North Carolina, the tribe’s successful vote is the first area in the state to legalize adult possession of cannabis. North Carolina does not have a medical cannabis program.

During the meeting, Councilor Richard French noted that legalizing medical cannabis could help the tribe with the opioid epidemic.

“We are all affected by opioids. We all lost someone, ”he said before the vote. “It’s for the good of our people.”

The Council deleted part of the regulation that would have allowed individuals to give away small quantities of cannabis for free.

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TG joined Ganjapreneur in 2014 as a news writer and has moderated the Ganjapreneur podcast since 2016. He lives in New York State, where he teaches media studies at a local university.