Two Tribes Make Headway on Cannabis Legalization to Drive Economic Opportunity

The Elk Valley Rancheria got a greenlight on its cannabis license from the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors—the county government office in Crescent City, California. That means all cannabis agriculture, production and distribution is officially under Tribal law. The Tribe will share tax revenue 50-50 with the county.

The move follows a lift of the ban on commercial cannabis by supervisors in November.

The Tribe has agreed to issue a 20-day notice of new operator licenses, reported Redwood News.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Meanwhile, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has launched a study to evaluate legalizing cannabis on the Qualla Boudary in North Carolina.

“That’s becoming a real big topic in Native America in general,” Councilmember Jeremy Wilson of Wolfetown told Smoky Mountain News. “We’ve got to be prepared for that now that it’s realistic. We’ve got to take advantage of it.”

The Tribe will examine cannabis for medicinal, industrial and potential economic opportunities, helping the Tribe to determine if legalization should encompass medicinal CBD oils, industrial hemp or recreational cannabis.

Funded by the Tribe’s general fund, and slated for completion in April, the study will be conducted through Tribal representatives from the Department of Justice, Public Health and Human Services, Tribal Council, Kituwah Economic Development Board and Division of Commerce.

A key influence for considering cannabis development is the Tribe’s intention to dissipate the opioid epidemic. Cannabis could provide that natural alternative to opioid medications. The Tribe will need to pursue clarity on legal technicalities, such as whether federal hospital employees can legally prescribe CBD oil.

Cannabis would also drive economic development including jobs and agricultural opportunities for farmers.

“There are some tribes out west who are able to make $1 million per 10 acres of hemp. That’s going to create a new revenue stream or opportunity for our farmers,” Wilson told Smoky Mountain News. “I think what’s also vital to note is our younger generations are not becoming farmers. Back then farming was the way of the world, and it still is, but we’re not bringing in youth. We’re not bringing in young people to want to be interested in farming, but youth are attracted to cannabis.”


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