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Shinnecock Nation to open first tribally-owned cannabis dispensary on Long Island

From left to right, Sunshine Gumbs, Celeste Inez, Chenae Bullock and Shinnecock Nation Tribal Chairman Bryan Polite.
Shinnecock Nation
From left to right, Sunshine Gumbs, Celeste Inez, Chenae Bullock and Shinnecock Nation Tribal Chairman Bryan Polite.

The Shinnecock Tribal Nation will open the first tribally-owned and licensed cannabis dispensary on Long Island.

The tribe will open the Little Beach Harvest dispensary in Southampton this week. The newly built 5,000-square-foot cedar building is positioned on the tribe’s territory near the Hamptons. Located at 56 Montauk Highway in Southampton, it will also feature Indigenous brands and products.

Chenae Bullock is the managing director for the Little Beach Harvest. Bullock said the dispensary is the result of an eight-year-long process. In that time the tribe faced many challenges. She said this moment feels surreal.

“The industry that's emerging in this state. For us to be able to do this, it just gives us a sense of pride and empowerment. It's a wonderful feeling,” Bullock said

Bullock said the tribe had to first vote for and create a cannabis ordinance within the tribe. It took roughly three years and they had to notify the state. After creating a licensing program, the Little Beach Harvest business was created. She continues to work with other tribe leaders to advocate at the state level.

“Far often people think that they know better than us and what is better for us,” Bullock said. “Sometimes that means we kind of have to hold our ground and make sure that that vision that the tribe had collectively had is brought to fruition.”

A rendering of dispensary.
T-Arch Studios
A rendering of dispensary.

In addition to products traded from neighboring tribes, Bullock said the dispensary will also sell products from Shinnecock tribe members who became licensed. She said a portion of the revenue from the business, 4% of sales, will go to the Shinnecock community.

The revenue from the business will help to sustain the sovereign nation and create job opportunities for tribal members and other locals. Bullock said the new business venture will help tribe members today and for generations to come.

“To have a tribally owned business and then to empower tribal members to realize, this is yours, this is ours,” Bullock said. “This is not something that is loaned to us or something that someone can take away from us. This is absolutely ours to continue to build.”

The tribe will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Little Beach Harvest dispensary on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. Representatives from Shinnecock Nation, supporters and elected officials will be present at the event.

Jeniece Roman is a reporter with WSHU, who is interested in writing about Indigenous communities in southern New England and Long Island, New York.