Entering the Las Vegas Paiute reservation, you soon pass the Smoke Shop, a cigar and tobacco retail store that reportedly brings in nearly nine-tenths of the tribe’s (paltry) revenue. From the shabby homes here, you can see the gaudy signs of the palatial casinos that line the Vegas Strip just six miles south. Turn the other way and there’s the cemetery, where tribal leaders say the graves outnumber the current population of less than five dozen members. Finally, you arrive at your destination: the community center, where a job fair that started just 10 minutes ago has already attracted nearly a hundred people — and seats are quickly running out.
They are here to get hired as cashiers and greeters, inventory clerks and “budtenders” at the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, a colossal recreational marijuana store set to open within sight of Sin City. Would-be weedslingers are being screened, interviewed, asked to provide résumés and to talk about their relevant background experience. The tribe is looking for those who have worked in retail, not just expert tokers: “A lot of the deep weed guys are not great employees, so you want a mix,” says Steven Olson, a contract litigator with Oregon-based Tonkon Torp LLP who is helping the tribe navigate the legal morass of modern marijuana.