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The Nation's First Pot Resort Is Opening In South Dakota

By Kate Shepherd in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 29, 2015 7:35PM

Get ready for a new kind of vacation destination. The Santee Sioux tribe is set to open first pot resort in the U.S. on its reservation in Flandreau, South Dakota, according to the AP.

"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 tribe also runs a casino, a 120-room hotel and a buffalo ranch on its 5,000-acre reservation along the Big Sioux River but those businesses have been hurt by competition and the Great Recession. The pot resort could generate up to $2 million a month in profit.

The resort will grow pot and sell it in a smoking lounge with the first joints available for sale at a Dec. 31 New Year's Eve party, according to the AP. It converted bowling alley will also feature a nightclub, arcade games, bars and food service and eventually slot machines and an outdoor music venue.

Marijuana was legalized on the reservation in June shortly after the Justice Department released a new policy allowing Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as some states. Some tribes such as the 400-member Santee Sioux see it is as an opportunity to make money similarly to casinos.

"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 has already opened its indoor marijuana farm, where they're trying to grow more than 30 strains of the plant. South Dakota legislators and tribal leaders from across the country are expected to tour the plant next month.