It could be a banner summer for recreational cannabis in the Hamptons, brought to you by shops on the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton.
Long Island's only federally recognized Indian nation is taking advantage of a traditional base of retail shops on Montauk Highway, and a head start in recreational cannabis sales that began in 2022, to establish the retail row as a destination for marijuana for the Hamptons and beyond.
The tribe's flagship Little Beach Harvest dispensary, with a newly constructed multimillion dollar building, will be open for business in coming weeks, and represents a point of pride for the tribe and an economic engine, said Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock council of trustees.
Other shops are already selling, some for more than a year, and operators hope the Memorial Day weekend will be the starting gun for launching the tribe's retail center as a destination for cannabis purchasers. The tribe already has granted a license to Little Beach Harvest, and eight other applications are pending, Polite said.
WHAT TO KNOW
- The Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton is using its base of retail shops on Montauk Highway to establish a destination for marijuana buyers from the Hamptons and beyond.
- The tribe's flagship Little Beach Harvest dispensary, with a newly constructed multimillion dollar building, will be open for business in coming weeks.
- Dispensary operators hope the Memorial Day weekend will be the starting gun for launching the tribe's retail center as a destination for cannabis purchasers.
Radio ads, cannabis ice cream
On the menu at shops visited this week: Cannabis priced at $40 to $80 for an eighth of an ounce and hashish for $30 a gram. Two dispensaries plan radio advertising, and another plans to fly ad banners over popular beaches. One dispensary is offering cannabis-infused ice cream and is testing cannabis-infused lobster rolls.
Sandra and Sharon Lacy, owners of Stepping Stones Smoke & Vape Shop, are opening a new building this weekend, replacing a small drive-up shop they've operated for 12 years.
"You have a lot of people that come by here," Sharon Lacy said from the window of the old shop on Friday, adding she expects volume at the new shop will increase sales. "We hope so," she said. The store will continue to offer a drive-thru window.
Another nearby dispensary isn't taking chances on whether crowds come out. Conscious Cloud Dispensary and its Cloud 9 and Tribal Dash affiliates launched radio ads this week.
The radio spots call Conscious Cloud the “first drive-thru dispensary in New York.”
Deliveries throughout Hamptons
Tribal Dash, owned by Yasmine and Awan Gumbs, offers “a new level of convenience in the world of cannabis,” with deliveries throughout the Hamptons, radio ads say. The Gumbs have applied for a tribal cannabis license, they say.
The Shinnecock Nation has stressed that cannabis deliveries are not authorized.
If all goes as planned, Tribal Dash will reach out to potential customers with banner ads flown by planes over Hamptons beaches, said Shane Breen, the dispensary’s media buyer.
Delivery orders over $200 don’t carry a delivery fee, although there is a $3 service charge for all orders. Under $200, it’s $10 for delivery plus the service fee, Breen said. The delivery service, like the tribal stores, won’t charge sales tax.
Lance Gumbs, Awan Gumbs' father, has launched his own cannabis brand, Native Nations Cannabis, sold at his Indigenous Herbs dispensary, using a seed-to-sale tracking system that offers customers full visibility into the origins of the cannabis. Gumbs, who also operates a lobster shop at his Shinnecock Outpost, is testing cannabis-infused lobster rolls.
The 'center of the summer'
"This is the center of the summer, the Hamptons," Lance Gumbs said. "We believe that since there's not a lot of distributors in the Hamptons, we will be the center of it all.
"I’m expecting to have some really tremendous sales over the course of the summer,” he said.
Up the road at the Shinnecock Smoke Shop, co-owner Taobi Silva recently celebrated his anniversary selling cannabis products — with a menu that includes regular weed from $40 to $80 for an eighth of an ounce, and hashish for $30 a gram.
“We’re expecting pretty brisk sales” for the summer and beyond, said Silva, who also manages the store’s tobacco and e-cigarette sales. Individual marijuana joints sell for $10 to $15, and the store sells edibles and accessories.
The Shinnecock Smoke Shop isn't yet licensed by the tribe, although Silva said he has questions into the tribe in advance of a license, and supports licensing to pay the 4% levy that will help fund tribal government.
Silva said he has no plans to start a delivery service, or to advertise.
The store features a banner ad along a railing out front that’s visible to the thousands of vehicles that pass by on Montauk Highway each day.
“We have enough business now as it is,” he said. “Ads are not really needed. Locals already know who we are.”