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North Carolina’s New Weed Dispensary: What You Need to Know



On paper, marijuana is illegal in North Carolina. In theory, however, there are certain ways to circumvent cannabis prohibition – and one strategy involves tribal land. For those who do not know, tribal land follows different laws in the United States – and it essentially functions like a completely distinct jurisdiction. In other words, tribes have the legal authority to set their own rules regarding marijuana – and one group in North Carolina is taking full advantage of this loophole. Despite being embroiled in controversy, a new marijuana dispensary is set to open in the Tar Heel State within just a few weeks. Here’s what you need to know:


Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians Plans Grand Opening for 4/20


On March 1, 2024, the Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians announced that their new marijuana dispensary in North Carolina was set to open on April 20, 2024. Recreational cannabis users will recognize the significance of this date, which is a time of global celebration in the marijuana subculture. Also known as “4/20,” April 20 refers to the time of 4:20 PM, which is a popular moment to smoke cannabis in the day. 


The announcement seems to indicate that the Cherokee tribe has successfully navigated all potential legal issues regarding the dispensary. Residents of the Qualla Boundary area had voted in support of the dispensary back in September of 2023. Seeing as Indian tribes are supposed to have legal autonomy on their own land, this vote should be enough to seal the deal. 


Perhaps most notably, a medical marijuana card will not be required for anyone who wants to purchase from this new dispensary. 


Will I Get in Trouble for Buying Weed from the North Carolina Indian Dispensary?


While purchasing marijuana from this new dispensary may be legal, users may still encounter a wide range of criminal consequences after purchasing the substance. Perhaps most notably, Cherokee tribal laws cease to apply the moment you leave their land. If you drive to the dispensary, purchase marijuana, and then drive back home, you could potentially be arrested during a traffic stop. In North Carolina, police may search your vehicle even if they smell the scent of marijuana emanating from your vehicle.


Users should also consider the dangers of buying in bulk. The dispensary is in a slightly rural area, and it may be a long drive from major cities. As a result, users may be tempted to purchase large quantities – perhaps stocking up on a month’s supply. However, this can lead to serious consequences, as there is a “presumption of intent to distribute” if police find you with high quantities of cannabis. 


To remain on the safe side of the law, consider smoking or consuming the entire quantity of marijuana on Cherokee land before returning home. 


Find an Experienced Marijuana Defense Attorney in North Carolina


North Carolina’s first dispensary is certainly exciting news for many, but potential customers should still approach this establishment with a healthy degree of caution. It is possible to face criminal charges even after purchasing your marijuana legally on Cherokee land. If you face these legal consequences, you may want to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney in North Carolina for further guidance. Choose Coastal South Law today to get started with an effective defense strategy. 


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