By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A public forum on hemp and its uses to provide pain relief was held at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds on the evening of Tuesday, May 29. Hosted by Wolftown Rep. Jeremy Wilson, the meeting centered around a hemp by-product known as cannabidiol (CBD) and its uses. The meeting was attended by approximately 15 community members.
“There is a big stigma around hemp and cannabis,” said Rep. Wilson at the beginning of the meeting. “I want you all to be informed.”
He spoke about the growing drug problem in Cherokee. “We have a large opioid epidemic here…I do believe hemp is a good problem-solver for that.”
According to an article in Forbes magazine in December 2016, “In 2015, the market for consumer sales of hemp-driven CBD products was $90 million, plus another $112 million in marijuana-driven CBD products which were sold through dispensaries – bringing a total CBD market to $202 million last year.”
Rep. Wilson spoke of diversification by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “To diversify is not just economics. We need to diversify medicinally…we need to diversify in the use of opioids and how we battle that.”
Tuesday’s main presentation was by given by Wahupta Ventures, Inc., a Canadian-based firm that, according to its website, “is focused on the production and processing of hemp and creating key collaboration with sovereign Indigenous communities throughout North America”.
Other uses for hemp were discussed briefly such as its uses as food, skin care and beauty products, biofuel, and others, but the main discussion on the night was the uses of CBD.
“My focus is getting proper care for our people,” said Sam Anderson, a member of the Dauphin River First Nation and the managing director and a founder of Wahupta Ventures. “It’s nothing new that our people use herbs as medicine.”
Anderson spoke of his issues with diabetes and noted, “I’ve been using that (CBD) for awhile, and my blood sugars are back to normal again…it’s been helping me out a good bit.”
Darnell Dinkins, a former NFL player who won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints, is the director of business development for Wahupta. “I see people struggling. They’re looking for a…