Largest US tribal nation studies growing marijuana industry

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — The Cherokee Nation plans to create a working group to study how the tribe might get involved in the burgeoning hemp and cannabis industries.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. appointed the seven-member committee on Wednesday and asked the group to develop its recommendations by May 31.

The Tahlequah-based Native American tribe is the largest in the U.S.

“I believe there are opportunities for the Cherokee Nation, our businesses and our citizens to benefit from this emerging industry," Hoskin said. “But, we need to move forward carefully and responsibly and in absolute strict adherence to the law in order to ensure success and sustainability."

The group will make recommendations about opportunities for the tribe and its citizens to engage in growing, processing and selling hemp and cannabis, and what role medical cannabis might play in the nation's health services system.

Under current Cherokee law, it is illegal to use or possess marijuana on tribal-owned property. The tribe says it recently revised its workplace drug use policy to protect employees who possess a valid marijuana patient license.