The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota is taking their cannabis operations on the road with a plan to introduce a mobile dispensary—a unique cannabis “food truck” concept. The tribe, which recently inaugurated one of the state’s only adult-use marijuana shops, is now looking to expand its reach and serve more markets within tribal territory by bringing cannabis directly to consumers.
The Red Lake Nation’s NativeCare retailer kicked off its operations as adult-use legalization took effect this month. The flagship store in Red Lake has been catering to approximately 300 customers daily, with some individuals even traveling for hours to visit the location in northern Minnesota.
Now, NativeCare is gearing up to enhance its offerings by introducing a mobile cannabis dispensary that can travel and set up shop anywhere on tribal land. Samuel Strong, Tribal Secretary, expressed his excitement about this expansion, highlighting the potential to maintain the same high level of customer service while being more accessible and responsive to their consumers.
The concept of a “cannabis food truck” introduces a novel approach to meeting demand and bridging geographical gaps. This mobility addresses the needs of those who may not have the means to visit the flagship store, particularly given its remote location that requires a 3-4 hour commute from major cities.
Minnesota’s cannabis landscape is marked by its unique regulatory timeline, allowing tribes to open marijuana businesses ahead of the state’s licensing of traditional retailers. While adults can legally possess and cultivate cannabis as of August 1, the establishment of regulations and licensing for traditional retailers is expected to take at least a year.
The introduction of a mobile dispensary aligns with NativeCare’s broader expansion plans. Following the overwhelming response to its opening day, where demand led to customer turnaways and online purchase suspensions, the retailer is also preparing to launch two additional shops.
The innovative approach not only demonstrates the tribe’s adaptability but also fosters positive interactions and perceptions both within and outside the Red Lake community. As cannabis continues to serve as a catalyst for change, the tribe’s initiatives are actively building bridges and reshaping the landscape of cannabis access and distribution.
In a parallel development, the White Earth Nation tribe has also ventured into adult-use cannabis sales, indicating a growing trend of tribes embracing the evolving cannabis market.