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Paiute Pot: Las Vegas tribe readies to join marijuana market

A look inside the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe's newest venture: marijuana. 8/6/17 (Nathan O'Neal | KSNV)

The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe is preparing to open what it calls the largest free standing retail marijuana store in the country.

Less than a mile from downtown Las Vegas sits a sovereign nation and on it rests a 15,000-square foot facility that will eventually be called the Nu Wu Cannabis Marketplace.

“This is going to be the single largest standalone cannabis dispensary, if I’m not mistaken, in the nation,” said Tribal Chairman Benny Tso as he showed News 3 crews the unfinished retail space located on Main Street near Washington Avenue.

The tribe already runs a golf course and a discount smoke shop near the site of the dispensary— however, sales are slowing and Chairman Tso says the legal cannabis industry could give the tribe and the surrounding area a much-needed economic shot in the arm.

“What we're trying to do is create an economic driver for the tribe and create an economic driver for this area. There's lots of needs for jobs over here,” said Chairman Tso.

RELATED LINK | Paiute tribe breaks ground on cannabis business

Nu Wu Cannabis Marketplace is expected to employ about 100 people – with priority given to tribal members. However, Tso said they will open employment opportunities to the public.

While Nevada voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, there were even more hurdles for Nevada’s native tribes.

Senate Bill 375 paved the path for the use and sale of marijuana on tribal lands and on July 18, Governor Brian Sandoval signed a compact with the Las Vegas Paiutes, giving them the green light to join the so-called green market.

“Vegas is big for tourism and just like we do with our smoke shop and our golf resort ... we're looking to do the same with this,” said Chairman Tso.

Sen. Tick Segerblom told News 3 the tribe’s dispensary will still have to charge customers taxes but that tax revenue will go to the tribe instead of the state.

Chairman Tso told News 3 the tribe’s marijuana products will be priced competitively. He projects the retail store to open up shop in early September.

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