Medical marijuana  (copy)

The state collected more than $54.7 million in taxes from the marijuana industry in 2019.  Tulsa World file

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. has appointed a Cherokee Nation workgroup to study issues relating to hemp and cannabis in fields such as commerce, health care and agriculture.

“As Chief, I want well-informed policy, and the team we have assembled will be a great asset in that regard. 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,” Chief Hoskin said.

The “Executive Work Group on Hemp, Cannabis and Related Opportunities” will have several primary functions, such as making recommendations on internal Cherokee Nation policies, including Human Resources policies. The workgroup will also make recommendations on modernizing Cherokee Nation statutes impacting the growth and use of hemp and cannabis.

It will also consider what, if any, role cannabis can play in the Cherokee Nation’s Health Services system, including identifying any legal or ethical barriers on the use of the substance.

Workgroup members will also study and make recommendations on opportunities for Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation citizens to engage in raising, processing, and engaging in commercial sales of hemp and cannabis.

The workgroup will report its recommendations to the Principal Chief and the Council of the Cherokee Nation no later than May 31.

The Cherokee Nation, headquartered in Tahlequah, Okla., has more than 380,000 tribal citizens.

While marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, there are provisions allowing commercial hemp production. Oklahoma has also legalized medical cannabis under SQ 788 in 2018.

Under Cherokee law, it still remains illegal to use or possess marijuana in all tribally owned properties. Cherokee Nation recently revised its workplace drug use policy to protect employees and applicants who possess a valid medical marijuana patient license.

Workgroup members include:

• Chad Harsha, Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources (Chairman)

• Tina Glory-Jordan, Secretary of State

• Todd Enlow, Chief of Staff

• Paden Qualls, Assistant Attorney General

• Andy McMillan, Cherokee Nation Businesses

• Kim Teehee, Executive Director of Government Relations

• Dr. Roger Montgomery, Cherokee Nation Health Services

“The workgroup established by Chief Hoskin is a substantial step for the Cherokee Nation evaluate the changing regulatory environment surrounding hemp and cannabis in areas of commerce, agriculture and health care,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha. “I look forward to working with this team to bring clarity on these issues and to present policy recommendations that will advance the Cherokee Nation in these emerging areas.”

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.