As NC’s 1st cannabis dispensary opens, Cherokee Co. DA to ‘continue to enforce state law’ – Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE – Even as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians prepares to begin selling medical marijuana at the Great Smoky Cannabis Company dispensary on April 20, the district attorney for the counties surrounding tribal land said her office will continue to enforce the state’s marijuana laws.

District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said she respects the EBCI’s tribal sovereignty, but plans to enforce North Carolina state law, which prohibits the cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana. Welch is the chief criminal prosecutor in Prosecutorial District 43, which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.

“The mission, duty and privilege of the 43rd Prosecutorial District is to enforce state laws. We do not pick certain laws to enforce and ignore others. On April 20, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will open a marijuana, cannabis dispensary on tribal land. Tribes have inherent authority as sovereign nations, subject only to federal, not state, law,” Welch said in the April 3 statement.

Marijuana is currently legal on EBCI land, as two referendums indicated broad support for both the medical and recreational sale of the drug. Tribal Council has passed a resolution allowing the sale of medical marijuana but has not yet passed a resolution

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