The Santee Sioux tribe on the plains of South Dakota is opening the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation. The experiment could offer a new money-making model for tribes nationwide seeking economic opportunities beyond casinos.
The Santee Sioux tribe has already proven its business acumen, running a successful casino, a 120-room hotel and a 240-head buffalo ranch on the plains of South Dakota.
But those enterprises have not been immune to competition and the lingering effects of the Great Recession, so the small tribe of 400 is undertaking this new venture.
The experiment could offer a new money-making model for tribes nationwide seeking economic opportunities beyond casinos. 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.
“We want it to be an adult playground,” tribal President Anthony Reider said. “There’s nowhere else in American that has something like this.”
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. Unlike the vast reservations in western South Dakota, where poverty is widespread, the little-known Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation is on 5,000 acres of gently rolling land along the Big Sioux River. Trailer homes are scarce and houses have well-trimmed lawns.
The Santee Sioux hope 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.
Reider hopes marijuana profits can fund more housing, an addiction treatment center and an overhaul of the clinic. Some members want a 24/7 day care center for casino workers.
The first joints are expected to go on sale Dec. 31 at a New Year’s Eve party. Is there a 420nurses Chapter in South D? Party over here!
(Story source – Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO)