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Native American tribe plans to open America’s first marijuana resort

marijuana-native-american-resort marijuana-starterBy Brian Koerber From Mashable

The Santee Sioux tribe of South Dakota has big plans for the marijuana business.

On top of running a successful casino, 120-room hotel and a buffalo ranch, the 400-person tribe has plans to open the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation, The Associated Press reports.

“We want it to be an adult playground,” tribal president Anthony Reider told the AP. “There’s nowhere else in America that has something like this.”

The “playground” will consist of a smoking lounge fit with a nightclub, arcade games, a bar, food and eventually slot machines and an outdoor music venue.

Marijuana consumption of varying degrees is recreationally legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and D.C., however, public consumption is still illegal in those areas, forcing marijuana culture to stay behind closed doors. Despite public pot consumption being illegal, some cannabis clubs do operate in Colorado under a hazy legal gray area.

Although marijuana camps have been proposed in the past, weed-friendly hotels operate in Denver and plenty of bud and breakfasts exist across the legal states, a full-blown weed “adult playground” has never been launched, legally at least.

Buzz kill
This won’t exactly be a free-for-all. Obviously, the weed won’t be able to leave the reservation and there will be some pretty strict rules for guests who want to enjoy their bud. The pot will be sold in bar-coded 1-gram packages for about $12.50 to $15, which is relatively close to the price of weed purchased illegally, according to That website also lists the average price of an ounce of high-quality pot as $358.65 or $12.78 a gram. Like most products, buying in bulk is cheaper.

Guests will only be allowed to buy one bag at a time Guests will only be allowed to buy one bag at a time, then, in order to buy another bag, they’ll have to return the bar-coded empty package. Seriously, Mom?

This is a new venture for the Santee Sioux, as the legalization of marijuana came in June after the Justice Department issued a new policy allowing Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as some states. However, not all tribes are ready to get into the pot business.

Regardless, the new venture comes as a welcome opportunity for some tribes, which are struggling with economic issues.

“The vast majority of tribes have little to no economic opportunity,” Blake Trueblood, business development director at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development told the AP. For those tribes, “this is something that you might look at and say, ‘We’ve got to do something.’”

The tribe is currently building its first growing facility, which has approximately 30 strains. To help the newbies with the effort, the tribe hired Denver-based consulting firm Monarch America to get them started.

“This is not a fly-by-night operation,” said Jonathan Hunt, Monarch’s vice president 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.”

Shade aside, the operation hopes to generate up to $2 million in profit a month and plans on kicking things off on Dec. 31 for a New Year’s Eve party.

But as Vox points out, the adult playground is entirely dependent on the current administration’s allowance for tribes to sell weed. Plenty of people running for president in 2016 would love to squash that.


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