Dana Thompson, known for her contributions to the James Beard Award-winning restaurant Owamni, has shifted her focus to beverages with the launch of a new line of low-dose THC/CBD cannabis seltzers named Heti. Embracing her Indigenous ancestry, Thompson incorporates native North American ingredients into her products, including cranberry, sumac, dandelion, cedar, rose hip, wild mint, and black currant, naturally sweetened with honey, maple, and agave.

Expanding Legalization, Expanding Possibilities

The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota has opened up new opportunities in the cannabis industry, prompting Thompson to explore the fast-growing segment of cannabis beverages. Despite beverages representing only 1% of total legal cannabis sales, market researchers forecasted a $200 million market for the segment last year.

Thompson acknowledges the challenges of navigating the complex cannabis industry but remains committed to promoting health and community through Heti. The beverages, priced at $27 for a four-pack, are packed with electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamin C, and flavonoids, reflecting Thompson’s dedication to providing a holistic experience for consumers.

Indigenous-Owned Businesses Work for the Good of the Community

In Minnesota, Indigenous-owned businesses often prioritize community engagement and social impact, reflecting a commitment to holistic well-being and collective prosperity. Many of these enterprises actively support initiatives aimed at preserving Indigenous languages, traditions, and environmental stewardship, fostering a sense of pride and empowerment among Indigenous peoples.

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Thompson’s vision for Heti extends beyond just providing a cannabis-infused beverage. She hopes to challenge stereotypes and promote Indigenous-owned businesses in the cannabis industry, emphasizing the importance of community empowerment and cultural preservation.

Currently self-distributing Heti, Thompson aims to expand availability in liquor stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets across Minnesota. Her ultimate goal is to provide consumers with a unique and culturally enriching experience while contributing to the growth and sustainability of Indigenous communities.

Through Heti, Thompson seeks to foster greater understanding and appreciation for Indigenous culture and the healing properties of plants, emphasizing the importance of building relationships with the natural world for overall well-being.

The Intersection of Business, Community, and Legalization: Hempcrete Homes

Heti, which means “home” in the Dakota language, pays homage to Thompson’s Indigenous heritage and her commitment to supporting Indigenous communities. A percentage of revenue from Heti sales will go toward developing sustainable housing for Indigenous communities using hempcrete, a bio-composite made from hemp.

In Minnesota, indigenous communities are pioneering the use of hempcrete as a sustainable and environmentally friendly building material to address housing needs and promote self-sufficiency. The Lower Sioux Indian Community, for example, has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to construct homes using hempcrete, a composite material made from hemp fibers and lime. With roughly half of the tribal nation’s enrolled members in need of housing, hempcrete offers a promising solution due to its mold-, pest-, and fire-resistant properties, as well as its ability to regulate temperatures and reduce energy costs.

Through the cultivation and processing of hemp locally, indigenous communities like the Lower Sioux are not only creating opportunities for economic development but also reclaiming sovereignty over their housing infrastructure. By integrating hempcrete production facilities into their communities, tribes can leverage the abundance of hemp-derived materials to build durable and energy-efficient homes tailored to their specific needs and cultural preferences.