The Santee Sioux tribe has been very busy as of late, running a profitable casino, a 120-room hotel and a 240-head buffalo ranch on the great plains of South Dakota.
Wanting to diversify their businesses even more and protect themselves from any future recessions, the small tribe of 400 is undertaking a new venture. One that involves opening the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation.
Officials from the Santee Sioux tribe plan to handle the whole operation from ‘seed to sale’. They plan to sell their buds in a posh smoking lounge that includes a night club, arcade games, bar, restaurant, and even slot machines and a spacious outdoor music venue.
"We want it to be an adult playground," tribal President Anthony Reider said. "There's nowhere else in America that has something like this."
The Santee Sioux is one of many tribes capitalizing on the marijuana boom, further emboldened by the new justice department policy that allows Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that have legalized cannabis.
"The vast majority of tribes have little to no economic opportunity," said Blake Trueblood, business development director 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.'"
The planned resort could generate up to $2 million per month in profit. Work is already underway on the state-of-the-art growing facility in hopes of having the first batch of marijuana ready for a New Year’s Eve grand opening.