The Shinnecock Indian Nation has long stood as a beacon of cultural resilience, preserving its rich heritage and upholding its ancestral traditions. In a significant step forward, on Wednesday November 15th, the tribe will celebrate the grand opening of Little Beach Harvest, a cannabis wellness center and dispensary located on ancestral territory in Southampton, Long Island.
The Shinnecock Indian Nation's Little Beach Harvest: Long Island's First Tribally-Owned Tax-Free Cannabis Dispensary
Positioned at 56 Montauk Highway, Little Beach Harvest is right along the Hamptons’ main southern roadway. It makes history as the first tribally-owned and licensed tax-free cannabis dispensary on Long Island. As the inaugural such business for the Shinnecock, Little Beach is regarded as a truly groundbreaking Indigenous operation. That the store’s official launch takes place during Native American History Month makes the event both timely and appropriate, honoring the tribe’s traditions and the bond that First Nations people have shared with the cannabis plant from time immemorial.
According to a statement released by the Shinnecock, "Little Beach Harvest will be the first legal cannabis dispensary in the state to feature both medical and adult-use cannabis, serving the needs of patients and recreational consumers alike."
Beginning at 10:30AM on November 15th, the dispensary opening will feature a formal ribbon-cutting, a traditional tribal ceremony, and a debut glimpse inside the retail space. Chenae Bullock, Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest, will be on hand for the celebration; Shinnecock tribal representatives, PowerFund Partners, elected officials and other dignitaries are expected to join the festivities as well.
The 5,000 square-foot dispensary space will host guests continuing into the evening. Brand activations from top cannabis brands, live entertainment, food and giveaways will be available for all attendees to enjoy. Visitors are also invited to explore a wide range of tax-free products stocked at the store.
How Did The Shinnecock Nation Develop Little Beach Harvest?
In July 2022, Bullock and Shinnecock leaders, including the tribe’s Council of Trustees and Chairman Bryan Polite and members of its Cannabis Regulatory Division, broke ground on the Little Beach site in Southampton. A presentation of renderings for the dispensary by Hamptons-based architects T-Arch Studio was included in the ceremony at the time, generating excitement for the Nation’s next step into cannabis operations. The Shinnecock’s environmental department, natural resources department, and cultural enrichment department worked closely with the architects, real estate advisors J2H Partners, and award-winning builders Rycon Construction, Inc. to ensure that proper tribal protocols were followed before clearing the lands and developing.
Little Beach Harvest is the culmination of a nearly seven-year journey including lobbying, outreach, development, and planning. Through a venture with tribal economic consulting firm Conor Green, the Shinnecock has strived to make inroads in legal cannabis, initially in medical and now in adult use.
At last year’s groundbreaking, Bullock stated, “This is a big deal for our tribe. What we're doing with this sacred plant is going to heal not only the Shinnecock community but so many in the world. And that's not just through commerce, but through education and the energy put into giving this plant a voice again… There's so much rich history on the things we have done that have changed so many things in the world, from whaling, industry to how to plant. What we're getting ready to break ground on is something new to do for not only our community but the entire East End and the entire world."
Explaining more of the Shinnecock Nation’s efforts to protect the sovereign land, she concluded, “The Little Beach Harvest dispensary will be a place where we can share with the world our culture, honor this sacred plant, increase awareness and provide resources for the Shinnecock Nation. People who come to our traditional lands to shop in our dispensary will contribute to our economic sustainability. For thousands of years, the people of the Shinnecock Nation have contributed to environmental sustainability, and we are now in times that we can develop economic sustainability through the cannabis industry to continue our stewardship to the earth.”
How Will Little Beach Harvest Showcase The Shinnecock Nation's Values Of Sustainability And Economic Self-Sufficiency?
The dispensary is poised to offer a diverse range of locally grown, meticulously curated cannabis products, infused with the wisdom of ancient Shinnecock horticultural practices. Little Beach Harvest is not just a retail outlet, but also a platform for promoting sustainable agriculture and community wellness. The products, carefully cultivated and nurtured on the tribe's land, embody the principles of respect for the earth and holistic well-being, aligning seamlessly with the Shinnecock philosophy of living in harmony with nature.
Moreover, the venture signifies a significant step towards the tribe’s economic self-sufficiency. With a focus on creating employment opportunities and fostering entrepreneurship within the community, the Little Beach Harvest dispensary serves as a catalyst for socioeconomic growth and empowerment, paving the way for a brighter, more self-reliant future.
With the official unveiling of the Little Beach Harvest dispensary next week, the Shinnecock Indian Nation reaffirms its enduring legacy as custodians of tradition and trailblazers of progress, inviting the world to witness the flourishing intersection of heritage and innovation on the tranquil shores of the Hamptons.
Little Beach Harvest's grand opening takes place on November 15, 2023 at 10:30AM at 56 Montauk Highway in Southampton, New York. For more information, visit littlebeachharvest.com.
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Featured image: Chenae Bullock, Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest (C) Little Beach Harvest / Moskehtu Consulting