Images: Wikimedia Commons
Will the stereotypical cigar store Indian soon be known for selling a different kind of buzz?

La Push Kush, Lummi Yummy, Apache Gold? When the Rez Smoke Shop Goes to Pot

Marc Yaffee

Tribal Sovereignty just went up in smoke. Marijuana smoke. The news is out in Indian country that the Feds will allow tribal nations to legalize pot on their reservations. And depending whether you see the bong water as half empty or half-full, this ruling brings huge economic potential and equally huge social pitfalls.  

Some people would say you’d  have to be high not to consider allowing marijuana growing and sales. So far, though, according to media reports, only three tribes have expressed interest in entering the weed business.

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From a marketing standpoint, marijuana as a product needs almost no advertising with its loyal and growing customer base. And of course, the brand logo needs no explanation. A marijuana leaf is as recognizable as a Nike swoosh. 

Whichever tribes legalize pot first, I’m guessing they will see a lot of new faces showing up at their powwows and public gatherings.  Single Indian men and women could suddenly become the most popular people on And, if Cheech and Chong Rez book more tribal casino shows, some of their fans may never want to leave the rez.

Tribal smoke shops would be seeing a lot  of new business. Tribal hotels might start offering a "Stay and Smoke" package. Casino giveaways could get interesting. I can hear it now: "Congratulations Bob Kincaid you are a grand prize winner. You can take the $20,000 check, the 2015 Mustang or the big bale of Rosebud Bud."

Some tribes could start branding their own variety of pot. Five years from now, High Times magazine could be selecting their top Native pot strains from entries like LaPush Kush, Apache Gold, Kickapoo Kickass and Lummi Yummy.

Whether or not you agree with this decision,  I think we can all agree that’s a good thing anytime the federal government moves to let Indian nations control their own affairs. Let’s just hope marijuana legalization isn’t too much of a good thing.

Marc Yaffee, "adopted at birth and confused ever since," is a touring comedian who has appeared on Showtime and performed for troops stationed in the Middle East. Yaffee, Navajo, is a founding member of the Pow Wow Comedy Jam. Visit to find out where he'll be performing or purchase his latest CD, Chucklelicious.

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Seatime's picture
Submitted by Seatime on
This is a truly monumental opportunity, not to make lots of money; but to help MILLIONS of Americans that are desperately petitioning "their" government for access to the cannabis plant. Recreational users already have access; it is the patients that NEED this medicine. Accidental prescription ( opioid ) drug overdoses are epidemic in all areas except states with legal Medical Marijuana; where fatalities have dropped 20 to 33%!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
This is significant! How many tribes realize that Washington State and Colorado are the two prime tourist destinations for international tourists? This could literally bring some Rez's straight out of poverty!

Norman Gooding
Norman Gooding
Submitted by Norman Gooding on
To completely avoid the possibility of any Native American produced cannabis from being sold off the rez the "Coffee/Tea House model used in Amsterdam should be seriously investigated. Limiting sales to 2 grams(2 joints) and sold in establishments that allow the smoker to consume the cannabis helps prevent it's being resold while reducing the amount needed to stock the outlets, Good growers using good seeds could produce the products in a large secure greenhouse for each outlet and it costs appx $2 or less per gram to produce excellent strains of cannabis,,,even at $5 per joint (no pun intended ) the rez will make a killing and undersell any street dealer,,thus helping reduce the black market,

dirk1240's picture
Submitted by dirk1240 on
What I find almost humorous is that so many in Indian country are so outwardly against MJ on res yet some of these folks were the same people who were outspoken against gaming on res years ago but yet today those same people are now pro gaming. Also if tribal leaders were so concerned with the well being of their communities then they would ban alcohol on res!!! It's way more destructive. Lets judge this for what it is. This is an economic development opportunity for tribes to drive more revenue to fund education, housing, healthcare, etc for tribal communities. Non-tribal people want access. Let's give it to them in a safe and respectful manner while generating needed capital for indigenous people and their way of life.