Minnesota Indigenous Tribe Strategizes Marijuana ‘Mobile Cuisine’ Venture to Extend Business Footprint Statewide

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In the realm of Minnesota, a tribe is making waves as it pioneers the state’s lone adult-use marijuana emporium. This tribe, known as the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, has embarked on a new endeavor: the establishment of a mobile dispensary, a veritable “cannabis food truck” primed to traverse tribal territories across the state for business purposes.

Having inaugurated its doors to adult patrons in tandem with the commencement of a recent legalization law, the Red Lake Nation’s NativeCare retailer is achieving commendable footfall, tending to approximately 300 customers daily at its flagship enclave in Red Lake. Such is the allure that some individuals are embarking on multi-hour journeys to partake in the offerings of this northern Minnesota township.

Yet, the Red Lake Band is not content to remain stationary. NativeCare, the tribe’s retail entity, has grand aspirations to broaden its horizons, intending to extend its cannabis enterprise to additional markets. The innovative approach involves mobility—essentially, the ability to erect shopfronts anywhere within tribal domains. This vision, akin to that of a food truck concept, is buoyed by a desire to maintain the same degree of customer service while enhancing accessibility for consumers.

Tribal Secretary Samuel Strong expressed his eagerness to gauge the community’s response to this novel endeavor, acknowledging the augmented security considerations that accompany a mobile setup. He expounded, “We’re crafting the ‘Minnesota nice’ brand, all the while aligning it with the interests of the tribe and the cannabis enthusiasts. Witnessing such positive interactions is truly heartening.”

Minnesota’s cannabis panorama is a tapestry of distinction. Of note is the allowance for tribes to establish marijuana enterprises even before the state embarks on the licensing of conventional retailers. While the populace can legally possess and cultivate marijuana from August 1 onwards, the regulatory and licensing processes for traditional vendors are anticipated to span at least a year.

During this transitional phase, the cannabis food truck concept emerges as a potent solution, catering to those who are unable to undertake a 3 to 4-hour trek to Red Falls—a journey that most major cities necessitate. NativeCare, after encountering an “overwhelming” inauguration day, necessitating the redirection of customers and suspension of online transactions, envisions the launch of two additional outlets alongside the mobile dispensary.

The tribal secretary posited that the perception of outsiders entering Red Lake, as well as the perspective of Red Lakers themselves, is undergoing a paradigm shift. A key driver of this transformation is the bridge-building effect facilitated by cannabis. In parallel, the White Earth Nation tribe has entered the fray by inaugurating an adult-use cannabis emporium, having secured the authorization for marijuana sales through a council decision the previous month.


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