Shinnecock Nation welcomes weed, opening Little Beach Harvest dispensary
After eight years of hard work lobbying, development, outreach, and planning, the Shinnecock Nation celebrates the opening of Little Beach Harvest with a ribbon cutting. This is the first cannabis dispensary owned by the Nation, and the first in the county.
This 5,000-square-foot, two-story retail space is on traditional Shinnecock lands in eastern Long Island. The opening of the dispensary brings the Nation into the growing group of Indigenous-owned cannabis operations in the country.
“I am thrilled we are officially opened on Shinnecock Sovereign Territory. We look forward to serving the community and ensuring a first-class experience,” Chairman Bryan Polite of the Shinnecock Nation said in a press release sent to GreenState. “This triumphant milestone is significant to our Nation as we enter the cannabis market, creating jobs, business alliances, and access to all.”
The store opened its doors today after a ceremony in which the Nation presented traditional gifts to those who helped make the day a reality. Guests from the Akwesasne Territory and other relative tribes took part.
Trading and gift-giving with Northeastern tribes is a traditional lifeway of the Shinnecock Nation. This rings especially true around this time of year. This cultural practice is at the core of the values at Little Beach Harvest.
“We are grateful to our former and present investors and those who have supported us on this journey. Little Beach Harvest dispensary is just one example of our preparedness for the future. As Shinnecock people, our goal is always to prepare for the next seven generations and beyond,” said Chenae Bullock, managing director of Little Beach Harvest and Tribal citizen of the Shinnecock Nation.
Indigenous Tribes don’t have access to social equity funds, licenses, or other easements of access due to sovereignty. The Nation originally embarked on this project with TILT Holdings to bring the dream into reality, collaborating on every aspect of the project. In September, TILT sold its interest in the endeavor to Standard Farms NY for $1.4M.
Now, Little Beach Harvest welcomes Shinnecock tribal members and visitors to step in and explore an array of cannabis products. Eventually, the store will have in-house products, but in the meantime the menu focuses on brands owned and operated by Shinnecock Tribal citizens.
The space was designed by T-Arch Studio, Hamptons-based architects who worked closely with tribal citizens to ensure Indigenous elements permeate the space. The resulting location is filled with natural stone and light wood with elements of traditional cedar to honor the Nation’s connection to their land.
“Throughout the millennia, the Shinnecock people have been leaders in environmental stewardship. Our shop will offer the world our culture, honor this sacred plant, increase awareness, and provide resources for all. For Tribal nations like ours, this is how we build economic sustainability,” Bullock concluded.
*The header image features members of the Shinnecock Nation and was provided by Little Beach Harvest. From left to right, Sunshine Gumbs, Celeste Inez, Little Beach Harvest Managing Director Chenae Bullock, and Shinnecock Nation Tribal Chairman Bryan Polite.