Since I live in South Dakota, this is incredibly exciting! I recently wrote that South Dakota has some of the worst drug policy laws in the United States, but we also have something that only a few states have: sovereign entities within our state borders.
Marijuana is clearly not legal in the state of South Dakota, but that doesn’t matter! The Native American tribal lands are recognized as sovereign areas, free of federal and state jurisdiction, and the Santee Sioux tribe will be taking advantage of that.
The Santee Sioux tribe is a 400 member tribe, and plans to open a resort on New Year’s Eve dedicated to marijuana use. Their resort will grow marijuana, have a smoke lounge, arcade games, and other adult oriented entertainment. The tribal president, Anthony Reider, describes it as an “adult playground,” and projects it to make 2 million dollars per month. For a 400 member community, 2 million dollars a month is an incredible amount a revenue!
I also think this is exciting because I think that it will create a shift in drug policy for the state of South Dakota. Drug policy change, especially in terms of marijuana, is all about exposure. Maybe not direct use, but exposure to someone else using marijuana. This humanizes the issue of the Drug War and gives its victims a face. South Dakotans will be able to see marijuana use right near their very own communities, and they will be able to see that the fuss was nothing to fuss about to begin with.