Paiute tribe breaks ground on cannabis business

Las Vegas Paiute Tribe breaks ground for medical marijuana dispensary (Fatima Rahmatullah | KSNV News 3)

A Nevada tribe is diving into the state's growing medical cannabis industry.

The Las Vegas Paiute Nation broke ground Monday for the construction of a new medical cannabis dispensary near Main Street and Washington Avenue.

Paiute Tribal Chairman Benny Tso says the tribe is going to their roots when it comes to cannabis.

"Our ancestors used it before as medicine. The Paiute people are about helping other people, so this medicine that we're going to provide for Nevada is going to be truly a blessing for both for Nevada and the tribe," Tso said.

The tribe currently owns successful smoke shops and a golf resort in Southern Nevada. Along with a dispensary on Main Street, the $5 million project also includes a second larger dispensary and a grow facility at the Snow Mountain Reservation.

"Economically I think it's going to put the tribe in a good direction," Tso said.

The Paiute Tribe isn't the first to get into the medical marijuana business. Other tribes across the United States have considered cannabis productions as a revenue source.

"Fifty percent of Americans will admit that they've tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime. It will probably be an industry larger than gaming," said Duke Rodriguez of Ultra Health, the tribe's partner company in the project.

"I don't like to pick on other products, tobacco, alcohol, but cannabis is beginning to be recognized the least harmful of any possible choice. So the fact is more and more will use it once they see it's legitimate," Rodriguez said.

The Arizona-based company operates seven other facilities in New Mexico and Arizona.

The facility on Main Street is expected to open in January 2017.

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