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Cherokee Nation Starts Group to Study Hemp

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The Cherokee Nation, which is comprised of the descendants of Cherokee Native Americans in Oklahoma, announced that it would be starting a workgroup to discuss hemp and cannabis more closely.

According to the Claremore Daily Progress, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. appointed a Cherokee Nation workgroup to look at things like hemp, cannabis and possible ways to implement healthcare, commerce, and agriculture if cannabis was legalized. “As Chief, I want well-informed policy, and the team we have assembled will be a great asset in that regard,” he said. “I believe there are opportunities for Cherokee Nation, our businesses, and our citizens to benefit from this emerging industry. But, we need to move forward carefully and responsibly and in absolute, strict adherence to the law in order to ensure success and sustainability.”

This group, known as the “Executive Work Group on Hemp, Cannabis and Related Opportunities,” will make recommendations on modernizing policies and seeing what role cannabis can play in the future of the Cherokee Nation’s healthcare system.

Workgroup members will also study and make recommendations on opportunities for Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee Nation citizens to engage in raising, processing and engaging in commercial sales of hemp and cannabis. The group will share their findings and report their overall recommendations by May 31.

While some places in the U.S. are known for their progressive cannabis policies, the Cherokee Nation is not one of them. Under Cherokee law, it  is still illegal to use or possess cannabis on Cherokee land. They only recently revised their workplace drug use policy to protect program, as it used to punish even those with medical cannabis cards.

Throughout the U.S., many indigenous groups have chosen to embrace legal cannabis and start a booming industry. However, other Native American groups are strictly against legal cannabis, or less likely to embrace it. This decision by Cherokee Nation, however, may signify that things are changing for the more conservative tribes.