The 400-member, South Dakota-based Santee Sioux tribe, which already runs a casino, hotel and ranch, is undertaking a new venture: the nation's first marijuana resort, according to a new report in the Chicago Tribune, which added that their plan could offer a new revenue model for tribes nationwide seeking to enterprise beyond casinos.
"We want it to be an adult playground," tribal President Anthony Reider was quoted in the Tribune article. "There's nowhere else in America that has something like this."
Santee Sioux leaders will grow pot and sell it in a smoking lounge that will also include an eatery, arcade games and, eventually, slot machines, reported the Tribune. The project, according to the tribe, could generate up to $2 million a month in profit. The resort is expected to be operational in time for a Dec. 31 New Year's Eve party.
The legalization of marijuana on the Santee Sioux land came in June, months after the Justice Department outlined a new policy that allows Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana similarly to some states. The Tribune reported that the Santee Sioux have hired Denver-based consulting firm Monarch America to teach them the basics.
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"This is not a fly-by-night operation," said Jonathan Hunt, Monarch's vice president and chief grower, in the Tribune, adding that tribal leaders "want to show the state how clean, how efficient, how proficient, safe and secure this is as an operation.”
A marijuana resort open to the public has never been tried in the U.S., according to the Tribune. Even in states where pot is fully legal, consumption in public places is generally forbidden.