CCB medical cards revealed at Cherokee Police Commission meeting

by Oct 12, 2023NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Reporter


CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Cherokee Police Commission of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) met on Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Ginger Lynn Welch Large Conference Room for their monthly meeting.

Chairman Crowe called the meeting to order, and Secretary Lossiah acknowledged that their quorum requirement of five commissioners had been met. Board members attending were Chairman Gene Tunney Crowe (Birdtown), Secretary Anita Lossiah (At-Large), Frank Dunn (Wolftown), Lisa Taylor (Painttown), Kym Parker (Yellowhill), Vice Chairman Joseph Buddy Johnson (Big Cove). Hillary Norville (Snowbird & Cherokee Co.) had an excused absence. There is one vacant “At-Large” seat. The Commission unanimously approved the agenda for the meeting and the minutes from last month’s meeting.

Shown are samples of the new EBCI Cannabis Control Board-issued Medical Cannabis cards. (BROOKLYN BROWN/One Feather photo)

Shelli Buckner, EBCI senior tribal prosecutor; Cody White, EBCI associate attorney general assigned to the Cherokee Indian Police Dept. (CIPD); Neil Denman, Executive Director of the Cannabis Control Board (CCB); Brian Parker, Inspector for CCB; Holly Kays, Smoky Mountain News; and Brooklyn Brown, Cherokee One Feather; were guests in attendance.

Denman and Parker presented on the patient, agent and CCB cards that will be issued in the coming weeks. Denman noted that the CCB issued their first patient card today, Oct. 12. The patient cards will be green and labeled ‘patient,’ the agent cards will be blue and labeled ‘agent,’ the CCB cards for board members and staff will be red and labeled ‘CCB.’

Denman listed that the CCB had received 1,005 patient card applications. Of the 1,005, 817 have been approved, 129 are incomplete due to a lack of photo ID or other missing information, and 59 were denied due to lack of a qualifying ailment.

Vice Chairman Johnson asked if the CCB had a transportation plan for transporting cannabis from the farm to the dispensary, due to the Cooper’s Creek farm location existing in Swain County jurisdiction. Denman said they are coordinating with Swain County to find a solution and implement a transportation plan.

Chairman Crowe asked if there were regulations in place for the ramifications of cannabis legalization, including an influx of homeless persons and an increase in crime rate as Crowe noted from his research of legalized states California and Colorado. Denman said they will hold a working session with Qualla Enterprises, LLC, as well as the CIPD to begin discussions for a framework that is successful, profitable, and above all, safe for the EBCI. Commissioner Parker asked if the Police Commission could be included in the session. Denman said the Police Commission is welcome to be involved, but certain discussions such as the route for transportation will be held in a closed session excluding the commission.

Brian Parker explained his role as inspector. He said he performs on-site walk-arounds to ensure that employees are following the rules and regulations set forth by the CCB. He noted that he works closely with Matt Hampton from Qualla Enterprises, LLC on compliance.

Vice Chairman Johnson asked if Denman and Parker had “been at Hicks’ table.” They answered, ‘not yet.’

Secretary Lossiah asked if there were policies and procedures in place for violations of the medical cards. Denman explained that since the dispensary is not yet open, the cards cannot be used, but they are working on procedures in the event of violations. He said that the cards will have a limit for daily/weekly purchase of cannabis, and violations of those limits will result in suspension or revocation of the card. Denman wants the CIPD to watch the cards being printed to familiarize themselves with the card. He said there are preventions in place to avoid counterfeits. White noted that even if recreational use is passed, the cards will still be valuable for enrolled members off boundary who wish to grow plants.

Parker noted that the cannabis plants are tagged and tracked from the moment they enter the ground to the moment they are sold in the dispensary. Vice Chairman Johnson asked if there are plans for a second farm site. Parker answered that construction is still underway for the first site. They are in the process of transferring their power source from generators to a Duke Energy grid. The generators are a large cost for rent and diesel fuel. Parker also said they have 42 hoop houses, which hold 2,040 plants in one hoop. Their goal is 69-70 hoop houses once construction is complete.

White led a presentation on behalf of Chief Neadeau with important CIPD statistics for September, fiscal year 2023, most notable being a total of 0 complaints from the public across the board:

In Cherokee,

  • Calls for Service: 1328 (avg. 44 per day)
  • Arrests: 33
  • Accidents: 71
  • Citations: 55

In Snowbird/Cherokee Co.:

  • Calls for Service: 167 (avg. 6 per day)
  • Arrests: 3
  • Accidents: 6
  • Citations: 13

Narcotics Case Load:

  • Checkpoints: 7
  • Cases: 220

Complaints From Public:

  • 0

Job Vacancies:

  • Patrol Officer: 12
  • SRO: 1
  • Juvenile Officer: 1
  • Investigations: 1
  • Corrections: 4
  • NRE Officer: 1
  • Maintenance: 2
  • Sergeant Detective: 1

White noted that soon the NRE will be fully staffed for the first time in years, along with new vehicles and equipment. White also reported that CIPD wants to re-submit the idea to Southwestern Community College (SCC) of holding their own academy, open to officers from the CIPD and surrounding counties like Jackson, Swain and Graham. He believes this will be an opportunity to increase patrol officers and fill vacancies in the CIPD. White said that he is a certified instructor as well as a number of others, noting that this will save money.

Buckner reported on the number of convictions in the month of September:

  • Number of Convictions: 39
  • Law Enforcement Officers responsible for charges producing convictions: 17

Nature of the Convictions,

  • Alcoholic Beverages: 2
  • Banishment/Exclusion: 1
  • Bodily Injury: 3
  • Child Victim: 1
  • Controlled Substances: 2
  • Domestic Violence: 8
  • Obstruction of Justice: 10
  • Property: 3
  • Public Safety: 1
  • Sexual Assault: 1
  • Traffic (Serious): 1
  • Probation Violations: 6

These convictions also reflect seven convictions made possible based on the Tribe’s exercise of jurisdiction of the Violence Against Women Act. She said this is the second month they have secured a sexual assault conviction, which is a credit to the investigators as well as a fuller staff with new prosecutor, Jordan Israel.

EBCI Tribal ALE shared their report for the month of September with the Police Commission after the meeting on Oct. 12.

Drugs/Firearms Seized,

Meth: 2 grams

Fentanyl: 2.5

Pills: 15

THC: 2 grams

Powder: 2.5 grams

Firearms Arrest: 10

ABC Law Violations,

Sell to underage: 0

Sell to Intoxicated: 0

Underage Possession: 0

Unauthorized Possession: 0

Other Alcohol: 17 pending

Other Offenses,

DWI: 5

Traffic Citations: 15

Criminal: 0

ABC Miscellaneous,

Inspections: 39

Training Hours (Agents): 20

Education (business): 0

Education (casino new hire): Mondays and Thursday

Education (other:  5 beverage section

Shows/Concerts: 3

Secretary Lossiah moved to pass a draft ordinance for mandated human trafficking awareness signage. Parker seconded the motion. The commission approved unanimously.

The Police Commission then entered a closed session. Dates for the next Police Commission meetings are Nov. 9 and Dec. 14 for the remainder of 2023.