The Shinnecock Indian Nation’s efforts to launch a medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary facility on its Southampton reservation is getting up to $18 million from a partnership with a cannabis company that will finance, build and help manage the operation.
The federally recognized tribe already has broken ground on a medical marijuana dispensary on a parcel fronting Montauk Highway. The tribe also is remediating a former dump on its Southampton reservation into a cultivation facility, said tribal chairman Bryan Polite.
TILT Holdings, of Phoenix, Ariz., will provide up to $18 million for the tribe’s cannabis operations, according to a joint statement from the TILT and the tribe.
The funding will go toward construction of a 60,000-square-foot cultivation, packing and processing plant, a two-story dispensary and a wellness lounge.
A TILT joint venture with Conor Green, a company that develops tribal cannabis projects, will receive 11.25% of the Shinnecock Nation’s gross revenue from medical cannabis operations.
The joint venture also will receive 18.75% of "free cash flow" from Shinnecock cannabis operations for the first nine years of the agreement.
Free cash flow is the amount a company has left from revenues after paying operating expenses and capital expenditures.
TILT said there would be a "Native preference" in hiring for the operations.
Polite said the nation has discontinued its cannabis relationship with Verano Holdings because TILT "brings a tremendous amount of resources" to the venture that the Shinnecock lack.
Plans call for the dispensary and cultivation facility to be up and running by late this year or next spring, Polite said.
In a statement, TILT chief executive Gary Santo said the company, which specializes in cannabis cultivation, processing and retailing, views its partnership with the Shinnecock Nation as "a step forward in creating social equity" for the tribe.
Santo said TILT's "expertise in cannabis operations" along with factors including the tribe's "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."
The tribe is developing its medical cannabis operation through its Little Beach Harvest company, which will provide cannabis products "geared to address illnesses and injuries," according to the company website.
Chenae Bullock, managing director of Little Beach, said the medical marijuana partnership with TILT will, "create dozens of jobs and jump start careers" and also will "cultivate business relationships with other tribal business owners, generating growth for Indigenous communities."
The Shinnecock Nation also is considering whether to start a separate recreational marijuana business.
The tribe's 800 on-reservation members have yet to vote on the proposal, which would create rules for local retailers to sell the product.