Native American Tribes Forging Cannabis Partnerships


TILT Holdings Inc.  (NEO: TILT) (OTCQX: TLLTF) has formed a new partnership with the Shinnecock Indian Nation, a federally recognized Native American tribe living on their traditional lands on Long Island, N.Y., to establish vertical cannabis operations on their aboriginal tribal territory in the Hamptons.

“We are proud to help create an entry into the cannabis industry that will be impactful for the Shinnecock Nation,” said Gary Santo, CEO of TILT Holdings. “To date, Indigenous people have been largely excluded from the social equity conversation across the country. This partnership — which is a true partnership in every sense — is a step forward in creating social equity for the Nation. We believe our expertise in cannabis operations along with Shinnecock’s thought-leadership and cultural connection to plant medicine will deliver economic growth for the region, while cementing the Nation as a leader in cannabis operations among Indigenous communities.”

Through a joint venture with the Nation’s cannabis project development firm Conor Green, TILT said it will finance, build and provide management services for the vertical cannabis operations of the Shinnecock Nation’s wholly owned cannabis business, Little Beach Harvest. The combination of TILT’s cannabis industry expertise with Shinnecock’s long history of understanding and use of plant medicine for healing will serve as the foundation of a truly unique and socially equitable partnership in the cannabis industry.

“This is an exciting and momentous opportunity for our Nation,” said Chenae Bullock, member of the Shinnecock Nation and Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest. “As the wealth gap in the U.S. has grown wider and wider, it is economic development opportunities like this that will help our tribe bridge the gap. Through our partnership with TILT, we will not only create dozens of jobs and jump-start careers, but will also cultivate business relationships with other tribal business owners, generating growth for Indigenous communities.”

Shinnecock Nation Chairman Bryan Polite added, “Over the past few years, we have been working diligently to ensure that the Shinnecock Nation will be a responsible and positive addition to the New York cannabis market. We have been impressed by TILT’s commitment to building such an equitable partnership and believe that they bring the right kind of expertise at precisely the right time to help us become a leading operator in the emerging New York cannabis market.”

Tribes Jumping Into Cannabis

Many Native American tribes are taking a hard look at entering the cannabis space. The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah said it was exploring getting into the medical cannabis business. Currently in Las Vegas, the NuWu Cannabis dispensary is owned by the Paiute Tribe. NuWu means “the people” in Southern Paiute and it is located on the tribe’s “colony” one mile away from the neon-lit Fremont Street Experience. At the beginning of the pandemic, NuWu became the go-to dispensary because it was the only one with a drive-thru window.  NuWu also operated the first consumption lounge in Vegas.

The Native American Cannabis Alliance formed a joint venture with Tim Houseberg, the executive director of Cherokee Nation-based Native Health Matters Foundation, and Everscore, the first direct-to-consumer marketplace for THC and CBD products. They signed three memorandums of understanding with indigenous farmers from tribes including Mohawk Nation, and Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Nations. The ground-breaking agreements will oversee the transformation of over 500,000 acres of tribal farmland into cannabis farming that will include agricultural services, the creation of manufacturing campuses to process the cannabis, and workforce development, with products to be sold on the Everscore online marketplace.

Cannabis History Of Native Americans

While some historians claim that cannabis was likely included in sacramental pipes that Native Americans smoked, others believe that isn’t possible. That group says that cannabis hadn’t been introduced to America at that time and that it didn’t come over until the Vikings brought it or some believe that the explorers of the Columbus era introduced hemp to America. Still, there has been documented evidence of hemp fibers in Native American clothing giving support to the argument that it did exist.

Emerald Magazine has posted a list of indigenous-owned cannabis businesses contains more than 100 retailers and is updated regularly.


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