By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
August 25, 2023
A U.S. Representative from North Carolina is urging members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee to reject marijuana legalization and is promising to introduce legislation that would pull federal funding from localities across the nation that legalize it.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, a Republican, noted in an Aug. 18 column in The Carolina Journal that marijuana is a “Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act” of federal law.
“More and more states are thumbing their proverbial noses at federal laws,” he wrote. “… And Congress has sat idly by and watched it happen.”
On Sept. 7, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will vote on a proposal that would legalize recreational marijuana for sale and use on its lands.
“To allow our citizens to travel only a few miles to buy and use this common gateway drug — which the CDC and the New England Journal of Medicine have said can result in short- and long-term danger of addiction, altered brain development, chronic psychosis disorders, and others — would be irresponsible,” he wrote. “And I intend to stop it.”
Edwards said he has a strong working relationship with the tribe, including with Chief Richard Sneed and the tribal council.
“The cultural, economic, and community contributions the EBCI make to our area are significant and cannot be understated,” he wrote. “I proudly consider the tribe my friends, and I respect their tribal sovereignty. But there are times when friends disagree, and I must do so regarding this question of legalizing recreational marijuana. The tribe’s rights should not infringe on the overall laws of our nation.”
Edwards said he will soon introduce in Congress the Stop Pot Act, which would defund governments — across the nation — that legalize marijuana and “ignore federal law.”
Legalization on tribal land, he asserted, could have a negative impact on the state.
“If the tribal referendum passes, the Cherokee area will be the only place in North Carolina to buy legal recreational marijuana. People from all over the state and the surrounding areas will be driving to Cherokee and likely the EBCI’s other non-contiguous tribal lands to buy it, light up, and party,” he wrote. “It also means many would be leaving the reservation and hitting the road high.”
The congressman concluded, “It is my hope that cooler heads will prevail and this referendum will be defeated. The safety of our communities and our mountain way of life may depend on it.”
“The Christian Action League applauds Rep. Edwards’ stand,” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We will assist him in any way he believes we might help him get this legislation through in Congress if the referendum in Cherokee should pass.”
“When Rep. Edwards was in the North Carolina Senate, he was one of the few members of the State Senate at that time who could see through the smokescreen of the proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the Tar Heel state. He boldly and principally stood up on the Senate floor and spoke against it. I watched lawmakers whom I had always counted as strong leaders cower in silence because they knew the Senate leadership supported the measure. He’s right about this issue. What we are witnessing in this country is a form of lawlessness with state’s passing marijuana legislation that is clearly a violation of federal law,” added Rev. Creech.