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South Dakota Will Soon Be Home to the Nation’s First Marijuana “Resort”

South Dakota Will Soon Be Home to the Nation’s First Marijuana “Resort”: Photo courtesy of Flickr / Brett Levin

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Brett Levin

New Year’s Eve this year will be a joyous occasion—especially for those partying in South Dakota, where the nation’s first marijuana ‘resort’ plans to open its doors and sell joints to ring in 2016.

It’s the brainchild of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Indian tribe, which is building the resort on their reservation. “We want it to be an adult playground,” tribal President Anthony Reider tells the Associated Press. “There’s nowhere else in America that has something like this.”

Plans for this 'adult playground’ include a smoking lounge with food and bar service, arcade games, a nightclub—and, eventually slot machines and an outdoor music venue. The resort will grow its own marijuana on-site.

This marihuana endeavor was made possible earlier this year when the Justice Department outlined a new policy allowing Indian tribes to grow and sell the plant, akin to states like Colorado and Washington where the drug is legal. American Indians have been major players in the casino industry since 1987, when the Supreme Court ruled gambling could not be prohibited in their sovereign nations.

There are rules, of course: Guests can’t leave the 5,000-acre reservation with their marijuana, and strict measures will be put in place to ensure that. Every plant in their growing facility will have a bar code, and will be sold in 1-gram packs for $12.50 to $15. Consumers will be allowed to buy only 1 gram at a time; In order to buy another, you’ve got to return with your last bar-coded package.

The Santee Sioux’s growing plans are already well underway, and they’ve hired Denver-based consulting firm Monarch America to show them the ropes. This is not a fly-by-night operation,” Jonathan Hunt, Monarch’s vice president and chief grower, said to the Seattle Times. “[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.”

The Santee Sioux tribe already runs a 120-room hotel and buffalo ranch on its reservation, and predicts the project could generate as much as $24 million a year in profits.

H/T Associated Press

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