The Santee Sioux, a small 400 person tribe, is aiming to open South Dakota’s first marijuana resort.
Located in South Dakota, the resort will be on the tribe’s reservation, alongside their current business ventures, which include a casino, hotel and buffalo ranch. With stiffer competition in those markets, the cannabis resort will be launched in hopes of creating a new profit-driven model for tribes looking to expand economically.
According to the tribe, the resort could reach an average profit of $2 million a month. The current plan is for the Sioux to grow their own marijuana and sell it in a smoking lounge, which will feature a nightclub, bar and food service, arcade games, as well as slot machines and an outdoor amphitheater in the future.
Consultant Jonathan Hunt checks seedlings growing in the new cannabis cultivation center on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation (AP Photo/Jay Pickthorn)
Anthony Reider, the tribal President, explained his hopes for the project:
“We want it to be an adult playground. There’s nowhere else in American that has something like this.”
Marijuana legalization for the Santee Sioux land was decided in June after the Justice Departments new policy that makes it legal for Native American tribes to grow and sell cannabis under similar regulations that many states have in place.
In order to create an efficient growing facility and program, the tribe hired Monarch America, a Denver-based consulting firm, to assist them in the process. Jonathan Hunt, Monarch America’s VP and chief grower, knows that it will be a complex process to get this resort up and running,
“This is not a fly-by-night operation. 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.”
With many tribes using casinos as their main source of income, the Santee Sioux hope that this project can provide money for the community and offer monthly incomes to tribal members. Reider is hoping that the new income can go towards further housing developments, an addiction treatment clinic and improving the local health clinic.
Customers will only be allowed to buy one gram at a time and tracking of purchases is handled with the use of barcodes located on every package, which must be returned before being able to obtain more.
A New Year’s Eve Party on December 31 will mark the first day that cannabis is expected to go on sale.