Mille Lacs Band unveils its multi-million dollar cannabis venture

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has announced its plans to enter the cannabis industry with a large indoor growing facility near its casino in Onamia, Minnesota. The band said that the facility will cost between $15 and $20 million to build and will produce about 1,600 pounds of cannabis flowers per month.

The band’s chief executive, Melanie Benjamin, said that the decision to get into the cannabis industry was not made lightly, but a majority of band members said they support it. She said that the band conducted a lot of engagement and community meetings to collect questions, comments, and concerns from the members. She said that the band was transparent and honest with the community and that it heard both their support and their concerns.

Benjamin said that the band sees the cannabis industry as a way to diversify its economy, create jobs, and generate revenue. She said that the band will use the profits from the cannabis venture to fund its programs and services, such as education, health care, housing, and infrastructure.

The facility and the operation

The band’s corporate arm, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV), is overseeing the construction and operation of the cannabis facility, which will be located in Onamia near the Grand Casino Mille Lacs, which is also owned by the band. The facility will be 50,000 square feet and will have state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The facility is expected to be completed by September 2024 and will employ about 30 to 40 people.

The band has hired Zach Atherton-Ely, a former executive at a cannabis company in Colorado, as the vice president of MLCV. He said that the facility will grow different strains of cannabis, based on market needs, and will follow the highest standards of quality and safety. He said that the facility will also provide technical training to the employees, who will mostly be band members.

The market and the regulation

The band plans to sell its cannabis products to other tribes and states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. The band said that it has already established relationships with some potential buyers and that it expects to have a strong demand for its products.

The band said that it will regulate its own cannabis industry, as it has the sovereign right to do so. The band said that it will follow the federal guidelines for cannabis production and distribution, as well as the best practices from other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis. The band said that it will also work with the state and local authorities to ensure compliance and cooperation.

The vision and the future

The band said that it hopes that its cannabis venture will be a success and a benefit for its members and its community. The band said that it wants to create a sustainable and profitable industry that will support its programs and services, as well as its culture and values. The band said that it also wants to contribute to the national and global cannabis market and to showcase its innovation and excellence.

The band said that it envisions a future where cannabis is accepted and respected as a medicine and a commodity, and where the band is a leader and a partner in the cannabis industry. The band said that it invites everyone to join its journey and to be part of its venture.

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