Photo (cc) by James St. John
Forget the casino: This South Dakota Indian reservation’s next business venture is a marijuana wonderland.
The Associated Press calls the Santee Sioux tribe’s project the “nation’s first marijuana resort.” (Although CannaCamp in Colorado might beg to differ — see “Country’s First ‘Cannabis Resort’ Taking Reservations.”)
Santee Sioux President Anthony Reider calls the project “an adult playground,” telling the AP:
“There’s nowhere else in America that has something like this.”
The tribe’s plans call for a smoking lounge where visitors can purchase and smoke pot grown by tribal leaders in an indoor farm on the reservation — as well as a nightclub, arcade games, bar and food service. Slot machines and an outdoor music venue will follow.
Joints are expected to go on sale during a New Year’s Eve party.
The Santee Sioux already operate a successful casino, hotel and a buffalo ranch on the reservation. And tribal leaders tell the AP that their latest business venture could bring in an additional $2 million a month.
Blake Trueblood, business development director at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, tells the AP:
“The vast majority of tribes have little to no economic opportunity. [For them] this is something that you might look at and say, ‘We’ve got to do something.'”
The Santee Sioux tribe’s ability to grow and sell marijuana in a state where it remains illegal stems from a 2014 decision by the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal agency’s Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country was issued to all U.S. attorneys.
Santee Sioux tribal leaders then voted to legalize marijuana on their land in June. The AP reported at that time that South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said that, although use and possession of marijuana by “non-Indians” remained illegal in the state, he respected the tribe’s authority over its own people.
If a marijuana resort isn’t your style, check out the country’s first “weedery” underway in Colorado.
Would you travel to visit a marijuana resort? Let us know what you think of the Santee Sioux tribe’s plans by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.