In South Dakota, cannabis users can now experience a new trend of relaxation and respite: marijuana resorts. While marijuana is not yet legal in the state, the government legalized cannabis specifically on Santee Sioux land in June, 2015. The policy allows Indian tribes on reserves to grow and sell cannabis under similar regulations to those of states with legalized marijuana, granting these tribes an exclusive revenue stream. While some groups may be hesitant, the revenue potential has others cashing in.
Earlier this year, the Santee Sioux tribe decided to open up America’s very first marijuana resort. The group plans to grow their own marijuana, which they will then serve in a smoking lounge located on their traditional territory. With plans currently underway, the group is expected to go to market with their first batch of cannabis cigarettes on New Year's Eve—talk about bringing in the new year on a high note!
With successful endeavours in casino, hotel and ranch development, the tribe estimates that they can apply their business savvy to generate roughly $2 million a month in profit. As time goes, they plan on adding a small casino, an arcade, a nightclub and other attractions to the resort, adding alternative streams of revenue to their business model.
While the idea of a marijuana resort is appealing to many supporters of the cannabis legalization movement, what’s truly driving the launch of this business model is the potential profit. In 2014, the legal marijuana industry was valued at $2.7 billion, a 74% growth over the year prior. It’s the fastest growing industry in America, making new ventures like a marijuana resort all the more likely.
In fact, a similar venture has already popped up in Colorado. Called CannaCamp, this cannabis-themed summer camp for adults opened in Durango earlier this summer. Attendees could participate in activities such as cannabis yoga, the art class “canvas and cannabis,” a THC-fusion cooking class, cannabis-infused massages, cannabis pairing dinners and the 4:20 Community Hour (which is similar to happy hour). A one night stay costs $395, however this does not include any provision of cannabis due to legality issues.
While it’s too early to tell whether or not cannabis resorts will be a widespread trend, their profit projections suggest that they might. These resorts will allow vacationers to enjoy their favourite recreational substance while still taking advantage of other amenities for a full on cannabis experience. Noting that creative cannabis projects such as themed dispensaries and subscription services all garner a lot of attention, the cannabis resort business model will definitely raise some eyebrows. But what is comes down to is community and profit and with projections like the one mentioned above, there are definitely high hopes that this new industry will take off.