Cherokee Nation Government Employees Now Protected From Medical Marijuana Discrimination

Monday, January 27th 2020, 8:26 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

Cherokee Nation government employees who have a medical marijuana licenses are now be protected from discrimination if they test positive for THC.

Rachael Callis works for the Cherokee Nation and said three of her family members - all Cherokee citizens - were diagnosed with cancer and used medical marijuana.

"They were in a lot of pain. Many of my family members from uncles to aunts, many of them did use marijuana to help with being ill," said Callis.

That's why Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the nation will change its policy on January 15th.

"Our feeling is that we need to keep up with the landscape of the labor market,” Hoskin Jr. said.

Hoskin Jr. said they believe employees that use legal substances shouldn’t have to fear for their jobs.

The new policy prohibits those applying for Cherokee government jobs from being penalized if a drug test results positive for THC as long as they have a medical marijuana license. The policy does not apply to those employees who work in Cherokee businesses such as casinos.

However, Hoskins Jr. said he wants business to have more of an open attitude.

“I think you also have to remember that you want to be an employer of choice and an employer that takes care of employees. I think when you do that, you have a workforce that's even better and stronger,” Hoskin Jr. said.

As for Callis - she said she's proud the Cherokee Nation is working to become more accepting.

"I was definitely proud because I did see it myself and see it help others medically. To see that people can still be employable, I just feel like that's great," said Callis.

Hoskin Jr. said he's putting together a group that will research tribal opportunities for growing hemp. The group should finish its report by May.