The Flandreau Santee Sioux is no stranger to savvy business. The South Dakota tribe owns a casino, a 120-room hotel and 240-head buffalo ranch.
Now, they’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind experience — America’s first marijuana resort, which would be located on its reservation. The announcement follows the Justice Department’s new policy in June allowing Native American tribes to grow and sell cannabis under the same measures in states like Colorado and Washington, where marijuana is fully legal.
The venture would not only provide the Santee Sioux with a new, successful means of generating profit, but also offer other tribes a blueprint for financial opportunities beyond traditional casinos.
So, what would this “adult playground” look like? The Associated Press reports:
Santee Sioux leaders plan to grow their own pot 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 project, according to the tribe, could generate up to $2 million a month in profit, and work is already underway on the growing facility.
The on-site marijuana farm plans to grow more than 30 different strains, including “Big Blue Cheese” and “Gorilla Glue”. Monarch America, a Denver-based consulting firm, has been hired to lay the foundations and teach the tribe the basics.
“This is not a fly-by-night operation,” said Jonathan Hunt, the firm’s VP and chief grower. Tribal leaders “want to show the state how clean, how efficient, how proficient, safe and secure this is as an operation. We are not looking to do anything shady.”
Of course, opening a resort of this scale isn’t without risk. The business will have to abide by strict conditions — every plant will have a bar code, be sold in sealed 1-gram packages, and guests will be prohibited from leaving the reservation with cannabis. Still, while many tribes across the country struggle to fund community services such as clinics and afterschool programs, the gain may be worth the risk.
Picthx Associated Press/Jay Pickthorn