The Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe in South Dakota is going where no Native Nation has gone before, essentially revolutionizing the cannabis industry. When the state government legalized medical marijuana in 2020, the Flandreau tribe was quick to open a grow center and dispensary within its reservation.
The tribe’s Native Nations Cannabis Dispensary opened in July and is currently the only dispensary in South Dakota, effectively cementing leadership in the cannabis industry.
In 2015, the Flandreau tribe became the first Native Nation to legalize marijuana. That said, tribal leaders believed they were well within their rights as a sovereign nation to grow marijuana. However, the federal government felt differently and threatened to shut down the operation.
Today, the tribe takes its previous experience to break barriers and reach all the potential the cannabis industry has to offer.
Innovating The Cannabis Industry
Not only is the Flandreau tribe becoming the first in many respects, but they’re also committed to doing things the right way. Mary Jane Oatman, the Indigenous Cannabis Coalition (ICANNC) executive director, applauds the tribe for going above and beyond industry standards.
“They’re raising the bar on issues like public safety,” she notes. Additionally, Oatman says the tribe uses its position to break down “barriers, and they’re doing it with so much transparency.”
One detail of the Flandreau tribe’s operation that separates it from other Native Nations in the cannabis industry is the vertical integration it has secured. That said, the tribe controls every aspect of the operation, from cultivation to processing to retail sales.
By doing this, more money stays within the community, elevating the local economy to new levels.
The Flandreau Operation’s Expanding Exponentially
As a result of the Flandreau tribe taking the time to establish an effective operation, the business is expanding at an incredible rate. The Flandreau Santee President, Tony Reider, says the company has “grown to approximately 50 employees almost overnight.”
In fact, Reider claims they’re having trouble meeting the demand, “which is why we’re adding more grow capacity.” They’re adding a 20,000-square foot to the operation’s capacity to meet customer demand.
But the expansion doesn’t stop there for the Flandreau tribe.
The tribe plans to include a state-of-the-art processing lab in the operation. On top of that, they’ve also purchased a 71,000-square foot vacant Shopko building to meet customer demand better.
As a result, the new acquisition could add 70 new jobs once it’s up and running. Finally, the Flandreau tribe aims to serve residents outside tribal land once licensed dispensaries start opening.
In the cannabis industry, the Flandreau tribe is truly doing things differently, organizing a one-of-a-kind setup. And the positive effects only grow as the business does.
The tribe is revolutionizing the economy, workforce, and the cannabis industry as a whole. Needless to say, the long-term impressions of this innovation are filled with optimism.