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Little Beach Harvest Cannabis Dispensary To Open On Shinnecock Land

Little Beach Harvest is owned and licensed by the Shinnecock Indian Nation and is the first tax-free cannabis dispensary on LI.

From Patch News by Lisa Finn November 6 2023

SOUTHAMPTON, NY —Just in time for Native American Heritage Month, a new day is set to dawn on the Shinnecock Nation territory as the Little Beach Harvest dispensary celebrates a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 15.

Little Beach Harvest is owned and licensed by the Shinnecock Indian Nation and is the first tax-free cannabis dispensary on Long Island, a release said, adding that Little Beach Harvest will also feature indigenous brands and products.

The grand opening will take place on Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Little Beach Harvest dispensary, located at 56 Montauk Highway in Southampton.

In May, plans for the opening were first announced. Ground was broken July 2022 at the 5,000-square-foot space.

According to the Shinnecock Nation, “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.”

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The dispensary was designed by Hamptons-based architects T-Arch Studios, the Shinnecock Nation said.

The Shinnecock Nation’s environmental department, natural resources department, and cultural enrichment department worked closely with the architects, real estate advisors J2H Partners, and builders Rycon Construction, Inc. to ensure that proper tribal protocols were followed before clearing the lands and developing, the Nation said.

“The Shinnecock are thrilled with the construction and look forward to officially opening its doors soon,” a release said.

In 2022, under bright blue skies, members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation welcomed the dawning of a new vision as ground was broken on the new Little Beach Harvest cannabis dispensary — which all agreed would not be just an economic generator, but will serve as a boon for the entire community and beyond.

The Shinnecock Indian Nation and TILT Holdings hosted the official groundbreaking ceremony for the facility, the “first-of-its kind, fully Indigenous-owned cannabis operation,” a release said.

“Little Beach Harvest is positioned right along the main Southampton roadway, creating a unique engagement point between the First People and the Hamptons community,” the release added.

The Shinnecock Cannabis Regulatory Division will regulate all operations, according to the Shinnecock’s Nation tribal cannabis laws.

The event, included the groundbreaking, traditional Shinnecock smudging, participation by the YoungBlood singers and drummers, and the presentation of renderings of Little Beach Harvest.

Chenae Bullock, Shinnecock tribal member and managing director of Little Beach Harvest, addressed the group gathered, thanking her family, the Shinnecock elders, tribal leaders, and the Creator.

“This means a lot to our community, what we’re going to do today,” she said. “This is a big deal for our tribe,” she said. “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.”

Shinnecock people have been on the land for years, she said. “There’s so much rich history on the thing 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.”

Tribal Chairman Bryan Polite also spoke, thanking the Creator. “We’ve had so much loss in the last couple of years that it’s truly a blessing that we could be here today, marking this really momentous occasion in Shinnecock Nation’s history.”

The journey began almost seven years ago with Conor Green Consulting, trying to make inroads in the medical cannabis industry, he said. “It has been a struggle. Two years ago, in 2019 we were super close to moving forward but then the pandemic hit, and it basically changed everything. As Shinnecocks, it brought us closer together but it also gave us a lot of challenges. Throughout our history, we’ve shown resiliency, and that’s what this marks today — the resiliency of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in the face of adversity. To get things done and to move our Nation forward.”

Polite thanked all former tribal chairs and the Shinnecock Council of Trustees. “This is not just an economic development project for the Shinnecock Indian Nation — this is community building,” he said. Proceeds and revenue will greatly expand the Nation’s social safety net and the ability to provide programs, direct financial support, and a return to the Nation’s agricultural roots, Polite said.

“The cannabis plant has been demonized over the years. But I’ve never looked at it that way. I’ve looked at it for what it is, a magical medicinal plant that has so many uses,” Polite said.

Dana Arvidson, chief operating officer of TILT Holdings — which partnered with the Shinnecock Indian Nation after an introduction by the economic development firm Conor Green to see the dream come to fruition — also spoke.

“From the outset it was very clear to us that this was not simply a financial opportunity,” he said. “It provided the chance to sponsor a first-of-its-kind partnership that could be a force for good in the indigenous community, a community that has largely been excluded from the social equity in conversations taking place across the country.”

He also thanked the Office of Cannabis Management and New York State for their cooperation.

Bullock also said the project is one that holds great significance for the Nation: “We have an entire Nation that we are building this for. And it’s not just the money that’s coming in. It’s really making sure that we’re protecting and preserving our sovereignty, that we’ve been able to preserve and protect for hundreds of years — because Shinnecock is still here. You are on Shinnecock land.”

The project will provide not just jobs, but careers —with a business-to-business approach focusing on collaboration with tribal members, she said. “The wealth gap that we have in this particular area is so drastic, that it’s important to not forget that there are community members we can help — to bring it all together.”

A previous signing event was held in 2019 on the Shinnecock Reservation for the planned “medical Cannabis Project.”

Shinnecock Nation’s former Vice President Lance Gumbs said at the time that the plan was for a medical cannabis dispensary.

Earlier in 2019 the tribe erected the first of two electronic billboards on Sunrise Highway that sparked controversy.

It’s critical to pursue a number of avenues for economic development, Gumbs said. “We don’t want the tribe to be reliant upon one thing — like some tribes, who put all of their eggs in one basket, such as gaming. We want to diversify our economic interests.”

Little Beach Harvest’s mission is to provide access to an alternative, natural way of healing in a way that suits the needs of its customers, the tribe said; drawing on the Shinnecock Nation’s knowledge of plant medicines and natural healing modalities, the dispensary is expected to offer a broad array of cannabis products.

Designed by T-Arch Studios, Little Beach Harvest will feature 5,000 square-feet of dispensary space and also offer drive-through service along the main Southampton roadway. A future wellness lounge is also planned.

The Shinnecock Nation’s environmental, natural resources, and cultural enrichment departments worked closely with Little Beach Harvest to ensure that proper tribal protocols were followed before clearing the lands, tribal leaders said.

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