Times photo/Marty Bachman Valerie Vigil stands in front of a display of pipes and other smoking accessories at the Tsaa Nesunkwa headshop at the Silver Sage Travel Center on Great Basin Highway on the Ely Shoshone Indian reservation. The store will begin dispensing medical marijuana to patients in a few months.

Times photo/Marty Bachman
Valerie Vigil stands in front of a display of pipes and other smoking accessories at the Tsaa Nesunkwa headshop at the Silver Sage Travel Center on Great Basin Highway on the Ely Shoshone Indian reservation. The store will begin dispensing medical marijuana to patients in a few months.

The Ely Shoshone Indian tribe has opened a boutique marijuana accessory shop, “Tsaa Nesunkwa,” in the rear of the Silver Sage Travel Center on Great Basin Highway, in anticipation of their opening of a full-scale medical marijuana dispensary later this year. The new store, while still somewhat barren of products, carries glass and metal pipes of various shapes and sizes, water pipes and bongs, vape pens, rolling papers and other marijuana smoking accessories.

For those looking to grow their own indoor medicine or tomatoes, Tsaa Nesunkwa carries grow lights, cloning gel, pruners, fertilizers and tubing among other indoor gardening supplies.

Other products include grinders, scales, incense, synthetic urine for passing drug tests, and glow in the dark ash trays.

“We wanted to introduce the public to the accessory side and garden shop as well,” said Cassandra Dittus, a project coordinator and advisor to the tribe on their future dispensary plans.

In October 2014, a Justice Department memo gave individual tribal governments the authority to grow and sell medical marijuana on tribal lands. While still illegal on the federal level, a 2013 Justice Department memo stated as long as dispensaries abide by the laws of local jurisdictions, the federal government would limit their involvement as far as prosecutions. The 2014 memo reiterated the 2013 memo points but was specific to tribal lands.

Dittus said with the opening of a Love’s Truck Stop less than a mile from the Silver Sage Travel Center, the local tribe was looking at new ways to generate revenue to cover the losses expected from new competition.

“Love’s is a threat to their community,” Dittus said. “They’re learning to diversify into a different industry. We really hope to see this bring a positive industry to the tribe at this point and help them create more jobs and more revenue to support their social programs.”

Dittus said the goal of the tribe is to be more self-sustaining and to keep up with the times, as Love’s is expected to seriously dip into their revenue stream. She said the new store will continue to add more adornments, including T-shirts, posters, hats and clothing. Information on the distribution of medical marijuana itself will be released when the buds, which are being grown locally, and the tribe, have reached that stage of the process.

“We’re taking baby steps into the industry,” Dittus said.

The shop also provides appointments with doctors via Skype and will be a one-stop location for receiving a recommendation, and the gathering and filing of all required registration and paperwork necessary to comply with Nevada’s medical marijuana laws.

Dittus emphasized the “positive” benefits the dispensary will have on the community.

“There are a lot of people looking for help and introduction into the world of medical marijuana and there’s not a lot of information out there,” she said. “It’s four hours to Vegas and five to Reno and a there’s lot of patients in the community that need outreach. We’re trying to help people get introduced to the benefits of medical marijuana.”

Ely Banner 1

Ely Banner 2


Ely Banner 3


Ely Banner 4