FLANDREAU, S.D. (KELO) — A new business endeavor for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is booming. Native Nations Cannabis opened on July 1st when medical marijuana officially became legal in South Dakota.
“We’ve been surprisingly busy,” Native Nations Cannabis Chief Operations Officer Jonathan Hunt said.
After just a few minutes inside the dispensary, it was easy for our KELOLAND news crew to see the constant demand for this new industry.
“We’re seeing between 300 and 500 people a day,” Hunt said. “We usually have a line when we start the day at 10 o’clock.”
The tribe now has more than 10,000 patients registered in their medical cannabis program, and it’s not just South Dakotans.
“We have a lot of patients coming from all over the country to buy products from the tribe,” Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Attorney General Seth Pearman said.
The demand has been even more than their growth operation can produce right now.
“We’ve limited the amount we’re selling right now because we don’t have enough product for everyone to buy as much as they want, especially in flower which is the big seller,” Pearman said.
“We do run a perpetual harvest, every week we’re bringing down 50 to 80 pounds of marijuana,” Native Nations Cultivation Supervisor Anthony Flute said.
Right now they have nearly 5,300 square feet of grow room on the reservation and are nearly ready to open a second grow facility next door.
“This new facility will produce another 130 to 150 pounds a week. In our current facility we are at full throttle, we’re maxed out,” Hunt said.
They still have plenty of capacity for manufacturing more products inside their state-of-the-art laboratory.
“That’s at least a $2.5 million laboratory right there. It can process well over 400 pounds of cannabis a day,” Pearman said.
“We are cautious about what we do and we also test everything we do. There’s nothing that’s on our shelf that hasn’t been through testing,” Hunt said.
It’s an expensive endeavor to get started, but Native Nations Cannabis is paying off in a big way for all of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
“Right now we have roughly 55 to 60 employees at just the cannabis operation,” Pearman said. “Its directly impacted our gas station nearby and our other businesses I’m sure too.”
Their success is spreading far beyond their operations in Flandreau. In Friday’s Your Money Matters, we’ll continue a look at Native Nations Cannabis as its brand begins to grow nationwide.