Most Americans are taught in elementary school that Native Americans and colonizing European pilgrims feasted together jovially on the first Thanksgiving, and that we recreate that tradition each year with our own Thanksgiving family feasts. The truth is that the first Thanksgiving was an accidental gathering. Pilgrims were shooting muskets to celebrate their first harvest and members of the Wampanoag tribe arrived prepared for war. When realizing that the gunshots were celebratory, the Wampanoag stayed for a tense meal to maintain peace. Some Wampanoag members regard the day referred to as “Thanksgiving” as a National Day of Mourning. These truths are an essential part of American history, and recognizing them is just one way to honor the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this land for generations.
When cannabis prohibition began to lift and the industry opened up, many tribes and those who lived on reservations were left out of the legislation. For example, the 2014 Farm Bill granted states the right to set up hemp pilot programs but did not grant the same authority to American Indian Tribes. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized the crop, tribes still had to wait for USDA regulations before they could begin building hemp programs. This gave other businesses a head start on capturing the market share and establishing their hemp agriculture infrastructure. The same lack of representation is an issue in Canada as well: as of September 2021, only 5% of the Canadian cannabis market was Indigenous-owned. Despite the lack of Indigenous representation, there are still Indigenous-owned retail shops, cultivations, CBD companies, and testing labs on Turtle Island. Some state legislatures, like Washington and Nevada, have opened up the cannabis industry to tribal business but there is a long way to go in making cannabis business more accessible to Indigenous people.
Chenae Bullock is a member of the Shinnecock Nation and the Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest, the tribe’s cannabis retail store that chose to open through a partnership with TILT.
“Building partnerships as a tribal business takes work on creating change on how tribal communities are viewed. For far too long, we have been purposely hidden and talked about in the past tense, making it a challenge for many to see we are leaders in what we set forth in. Once that view changes, we are looked at as equal partners and business can thrive.” — Chenae Bullock, Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest
In hope that you will shop Indigenous whenever possible, we’ve put together a list of cannabis industry businesses that are owned by Native tribes, owned by tribal members, and some that are owned by tribes in partnership with larger cannabis brands.
These stores have been pulled from various sources including InclusiveBase, the cannabis PoC directory. Before they were added here, the following businesses were vetted to ensure that they were Indigenous-owned. Some companies are owned by tribes, some operate on reservations while others do not. We’ve displayed the relevant information for each business — scroll down to find Indigenous-owned cannabis retailers, cultivation sites, testing labs, CBD brands, and industry partnerships.
- Agate Dreams // Port Madison Indian Reservation
Agate Dreams is a retail cannabis shop operated by the Suquamish Evergreen Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Port Madison Enterprises, an agency of the Suquamish Tribe.
- Cedar Greens // S’Kllalam Territory – Sequim, Washington
This store is owned by the Jamestown S’Kllalam tribe, a band of the S’kllalam people who purchased 210-acres along the Strait of Juan de Fuca where they continue to preserve and enhance the Jamestown S’Kllalam Nation’s cultural identity.
- Commencement Bay Cannabis // Occupied Coast Salish & Puyallup Land – Fife & Tacoma, Washington
The Commencement Bay chain of stores is owned by the Puyallup Tribe.
- Elevation // Occupied Squaxin, Coast Salish land – Shelton, Washington
This store is owned by The Squaxin Island Tribe who have compiled this Native American etiquette for those who are visiting.
- High Point Cannabis // Occupied Suquamish, Coast Salish land – Kingston, Washington.
This cannabis dispensary is owned by the Port Gamble band of the S’Kllalam tribe.
- Joint Rivers // Occupied Coast Salish, Muckleshoot land – Auburn, Washington
This store is operated by the Muckleshoot Tribe which is made up of Duwamish and Upper Puyallup people, the name Muckleshoot comes from the prairie on which the reservation was established, the tribe was then referred to by the name of the prairie rather than their historic tribal names.
- Remedy Tulalip // Tulalip territory – Tulalip, Washington
The government set up a reservation in Tulalip for the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and other allied tribes and bands signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliot. Tulalip is one of the Coast Salish Tribes of Puget Sound and the tribe owns Remedy Tulalip.
- Salish Coast Cannabis // Occupied territories of the Samish, Coast Salish, Sauk Suiattle, Skagit, and Hul-qumi-num treaty group – Anacortes, Washington
This shop is owned and operated by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.
- Elwha Peaks // Occupied Coast Salish, S’Kllalam land – Port Angeles, Washington
Elwha Peaks is wholly owned and operated by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, all revenues from the store go to supporting the betterment of the tribe through infrastructure, education, and similar initiatives.
- Mountain Source Dispensary // Iipay Nation tribal lands – Santa Ysabel, California.
This shop is owned by the Iipay Nation tribal lands a band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
- Oak Creek Dispensary // Numu (Northern Paiute) territory – Independence, California
Oak Creek dispensary is owned by the Fort Independence tribe of Paiute Indians who are indigenous to the area. The tribe also owns Oak Creek Farm.
- Long Lodge Tribal Enterprises // Occupied Tongva (Gabrielino) land – Costa Mesa, California
The link above goes to the Long Lodge Twitter account which states that first the dispensary was shut down due to damage from police raids on illegal operations in the same business park as their regulated business. In the wake of this the brand moved to delivery, which has now been shut down by city regulators.
- Little Beach Harvest // Shinnecock nation territory – South Hampton, New York
This cannabis store is owned by the Shinnecock tribe in partnership with TILT and will be open soon.
- Nabodoka Dispensary // Numu (Norther Paiute territory) Lovelock, Nevada – Northern Paiute territory
The Lovelock Paiute nation owns Nabodoka dispensary. They view the human to cannabis relationship as one of mutualism where the plant ally provides for the people and the people put love in to the cannabis.
- NeWe Cannabis // Newe (Western Shoshone) land – Elko, Nevada
This shop is owned and operated by the Elko Band Colony of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians.
- NuWu // Newe (Western Shoshone) land – Las Vegas, Nevada
NuWu is a huge store with a modern design, smoking lounge, and drive thru window owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.
- Pesha’ Numma // Yerington Paiute Tribe Colony – Yerington, Nevada
Pesha’ Numma is owned and operated by the Yerington Paiute Tribe Colony, they have provided donations to local organization, Native American Domestic Violence, the Yerington Food Bank, and more.
- Tsaa Nesunkwa Dispensary // Shoshone tribal land – Ely, Nevada
The Ely Shoshone tribe runs Tsar Nesunkwa dispensary for the betterment of their people, money earned is put back into food drives, toy drives, and other fundraisers.
- Water Canyon Dispensary // Numu (Northern Paiute) territory – Winnemucca, Nevada
This store is owned by the Winnemucca Indian Colony.
- Green Chief Naturals // Mohawk land – Cornwall Island, Ontario
- Seven Leaf // Located on Akwesasne Mohawk land, known as Ontario.
The Canadian dispensary is run by Mohawk executive leadership.
- Red Market Brand // Canada
- Native Humboldt // Whilkut territory – Humboldt, California
- La Vida Ranchera – The Botanical Joint // Yokuts territory – Fresno, California
- Tokem // Washington
- Native Seed Co. // Ohlone territory – California
Native Seed Co. is owned by a husband and wife team who have recently experienced severe trauma: Robbie was in a car accident while transporting Advanced Nutrients products that contain lye. The container exploded and he suffered a chemical burn to 30% of his body, primarily in his face and eyes. If you can support his uninsured recovery, there is a GoFundMe set up by friends of the family.
- Medicine Creek Analytics // Puyallup tribal land – Fife, Washington
- Nice Hemp Co. // Gabrielino-Tongva, Kizh, and Chumash lands – Los Angeles, California
- MaatRa // Online Nationwide
- Canndigenous // Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) tribal land – Cambridge, Wisconsin
- Niota by Ho-Chunk Farms // Winnebago Reservation
Niota is crafted and sold by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska whose traditional name is Hochungra which is shortened to Ho-Chunk.
- White Plume Hemp Company // Pine Ridge Reservation
Building a CBD brand is a dream of Alex White Plume which he believes will invigorate the tribes who are settled in South Dakota. Donate to this dream here.
- Indigenous Bloom // Ten locations in Kanata – Canada
These stores are owned by First Nations tribes and Veritas in partnerships that give tribes 51% equity in the store. Indigenous Bloom employs approximately 200 people, 60 percent of whom are Indigenous.
- Lume // Michigan
Vertically integrated Lume Cannabis Co. works with individual Native American tribes in Michigan to lease stores on tribal land.
Note: Land acknowledgments and other tribal information in this article were sourced from Native-Land.ca followed by researching the individual tribes, typically through official tribe websites.