The legalization of marijuana has brought great benefits to some parts of the world, which is something that has not gone unnoticed by the Santee Sioux tribe of South Dakota, who is planning to open the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation. According to a report from the Associated Press, leaders of the Santee Sioux tribe plan to grow their own marijuana and sell it in a smoking lounge that includes a nightclub, arcade games, bar and food service, and eventually, slot machines and an outdoor music venue.
The Santee Sioux tribe, a small community of 400 members, has embarked on an interesting campaign that will inaugurate the first marijuana resort in the country. This initiative could pave the way for a new business model for tribes seeking economic opportunities.
High Times wrote that the tribe intends to use pot in the same way that many tribes rely on casinos — to make money for community services and to provide a monthly income to tribal members. The existing enterprises support family homes, a senior living community, a clinic, and a community center offering after-school programs.
The tribal leaders plan to cultivate cannabis and sell it in facilities which include a nightclub, video games, bar and restaurant and, later, slot machines and a stage for outdoor concerts. Although marijuana is not legal in South Dakota, the tribe was recently granted permission to grow and sell pot. The South Dakota tribe’s marijuana resort is scheduled to open on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking with media outlets, tribal president Anthony Reider had the following to say about this unique marijuana resort.
“We want it to be an adult playground,” he said. “There’s nowhere else in America that has something like this.”
Reider clarified that marijuana will only be sold on the reservation, and the resort will be open to the public and crops have already begun. It is expected to market the first pot on December 31 during the New Year festival.
The potential monetary gains are also attracting the attention of many other tribes. The tribe says the project could generate revenues of up to $2 million a month. Marijuana will be sold in sealed one-gram packages for $12.50 to $15, and people will only be able to buy one gram at a time.
“The tribe must look at these opportunities because in order to preserve the past we do have to advance in the present,” Reider explained.
The Santee Sioux tribe hopes to use the income generated by marijuana sales to aid in services to the community, such as financing more housing, establishing a treatment center for addiction, and a clinic. Tribal leaders will also provide a monthly report of the income from marijuana sales to its members.
“The vast majority of tribes have little to no economic opportunity,” said Blake Trueblood, director of business development at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. For those tribes, “this is something that you might look at and say, ‘We’ve got to do something.'”
Cannabis remains illegal under federal law, and only Congress can change that. It is currently legal to purchase marijuana in only four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — as well as in the District of Columbia. However, other states have decriminalized the drug, but still have relatively stiff penalties for marijuana possession.
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