More than 30 jobs created; Cannabis revenue to go to services for Tribal Citizens in New York and Michigan
PORTLAND, ME, May 2, 2023 – The first retail cannabis dispensaries owned by the Seneca Nation in New York, and by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan, opened last month, generating a positive impact on their communities. The opening-day celebrations and first sales also marked milestones for Opus Consulting Partners LLC (“Opus Consulting”), a business advisory firm with specialized experience working with North American Indian Tribes, that was hired to bring each operation from concept to ribbon-cutting ceremonies and beyond.
“For each Tribe, we performed a feasibility and economic development study, and worked within their unique regulatory frameworks to develop sustainable businesses that respect the Tribes’ sovereignty, meet the Tribal economic development authorities’ goals, and maintain compliance to provide safe access to cannabis for Tribal Citizens and others who shop at these stores,” explained Jacques Santucci, President, Opus Consulting. “Both of the Tribes’ leadership teams have been exceptionally collaborative and trusting, and open to creativity with everything from building concepts and elevating the customer experience.”
Built from recycled shipping containers less than two blocks from the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in downtown Niagara Falls, NY, Nativa Cannabis is the Seneca Nation’s first retail cannabis business. It opened on April 20, 2023, with 18 employees and a variety of products sourced from local cultivators and tested for contaminants before sale to customers. With the assistance of Opus Consulting, the Seneca Nation plans to open their own cultivation facility later this year and is exploring additional locations for more Nativa Cannabis stores.
The 3,000-square-foot Rolling Embers dispensary and consumption lounge also opened on April 20, 2023, on the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ trust land in New Buffalo, Michigan. Rolling Embers is staffed with more than 15 employees and features an outdoor consumption lounge that encourages relaxation and community with its comfortable seating, gas fire pit, space for live music performances, and a rotation of local favorite food trucks. Asserting its sovereignty, Rolling Embers is one of the only locations in Michigan where customers can purchase and consume cannabis at the same facility.
“With its innovative concept and great location near Lake Michigan, Rolling Embers offers a retail cannabis experience that is truly unique in the state of Michigan,” said Pokagon Band Tribal Council Treasurer and Pokagon Development Authority Chairman, Alex Wesaw. “At the request of many of our citizens, the Pokagon Band evaluated business opportunities within the burgeoning cannabis industry for several years, and we are very pleased to have partnered with Opus Consulting to enter the market and establish Rolling Embers.”
It is now legal for licensed businesses to grow, process, and sell cannabis in more than 38 U.S. states and territories, including New York and Michigan. Tribal-owned cannabis businesses on Tribal land may not be subject to the same regulations or taxation framework that state-licensed cannabis business operators face, posing unique opportunities and challenges.
“We don’t have a tax base, so whatever we generate as revenue, we take directly back to services for our people,” said Seneca Nation president Ricky Armstrong, Sr. “Tribes working in cannabis or looking to enter the cannabis market are seeing how the industry can provide their citizens with jobs and create mutually beneficial partnerships with other Tribes and local businesses,” explained Opus Consulting senior consultant Nick Des Lauriers, who works with both the Seneca Nation and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. “They are getting a new opportunity on their sovereignty, and the Opus Consulting team is proud to work with them to build a more prosperous economic future for their citizens.”
Opus Consulting continues to work with other Tribal governments, from New England to the West Coast, to assess opportunities for their communities and develop ventures, in the cannabis industry as well as other industries.
About Opus Consulting
Opus Consulting is a business performance advisory firm that helps businesses and executive leadership teams transform, innovate, and accelerate their operations, creating solutions to empower businesses. Launched in 2009 by founder Jacques Santucci, Opus has grown to provide strategic management and turnaround services to clients facing operational challenges and uncertainty across the U.S. With a deep understanding of clients in regulatorily complex industries such as cannabis and alcoholic beverages, hospitality, food, and beverage, agriculture, energy, and with North American Indian Tribes, Opus management consultants leverage their networks and experience in uncertain environments to help businesses and executive leadership teams thrive. Learn more at opuscg.com.
Beth Waterfall for Opus Consulting, (508) 221-8412, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opus Consulting, (207) 619-1899, email@example.com
David Gutierrez for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, (312) 780-7204, firstname.lastname@example.org