One of the most amazing things to watch during my lifetime has been the growth of earning power of Native American tribes.
I have had great admiration for the establishment of casinos and gambling operations, both in a commercial sense and a moral sense. Let’s face it, we white guys didn’t bother to think about the tribes when we got here and decided this would be our home.
Plus, the tribes have proven to be major charitable funders in the cities in which they operate, as well as providers of real entertainment options for Milwaukee. You can gamble, listen to music, have some great meals, stay overnight in a high-end hotel and participate in special events, all at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
The Potawatomi, for example, fund a wide variety of organizations and sponsor events throughout the area with no regard for race or ethnicity. They are truly among the most valued organizations in Milwaukee.
Each year the tribe gets more and more money from gambling, and the donations and shares to the city, county and state continue to grow.
But there is, on the horizon, the potential for a new source of revenue that might just increase their revenue and wildly expand their hospital offerings.
Pot. Mary Jane. Grass. Weed. Joint. Ganja. Blunt. Reefer.
No less an authority than the United States Department of Justice has cracked open the door to allow tribes, which are sovereign states, to grow marijuana on their reservations.
There is, of course, some confusion about how all of this will work. Laws and regulations are going to have to be passed and designed. Plans will have to be laid and government cuts of revenue will have to be negotiated. The Menominee tribe, which lost out in its bid to build a casino in Kenosha, is trying to decide whether to begin the process on its reservation near Shawano. So far it is the only Wisconsin tribe that has publicly expressed an interest.
But that doesn't mean we can't dream of what might be some day in Milwaukee. I mean things change. Who would have thought that a little bingo parlor would become the empire that Potawatomi is today? The tribe has not asked about marijuana or even indicated it might be interested.
Here's my fantasy scenario for Milwaukee:
The tribe would be allowed to build greenhouses both on the Milwaukee reservation and the Forest County reservation. The marijuana grown in Forest County would be transported, under a waiver by the state police, to Milwaukee.
The tribe would construct luxurious buildings called Joint Joints on the grounds. These joints would come complete with a great room with bean bag chairs, lava lamps, songs from Barry White and Jimi Hendrix.
There would also be individual rooms, much like a cool hotel room.
Each joint would have a bar and a food service that would only serve Mountain Dew, tequila and a vast selection of munchies. There would be video on demand on 50-inch television screens and guests can select programs categorized by decade.
Upon entering guests would have to surrender their driver’s licenses and must pass a sobriety test before getting them back when leaving.
A tribe in South Dakota is well along in its plans and it is already discussing limits on the amount of marijuana that can be sold to each person. So far their limit is five joints per trip.
Any stay in the Joint Joint will be limited to 10 hours per visit and you may not return until 10 hours have passed.
It’s obvious that some small group of blue noses will raise a stink about all of this, but they all complained about casino gambling as well. The casino has been a net win for taxpayers with the tribe paying 6.5% of the net win to the state and 1.5% to the city and the county each year. It amounts to millions of dollars.
The mind boggles at how much more we could get if the Joint Joint came to be.
We could even get enough to lobby the federal government to expand the Potawatomi reservation in Milwaukee by enough to let it reach into that new entertainment district Downtown.
Now, that’s entertainment.
Time for a nap.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.