Report: Wisconsin’s first Native American owner of cannabis business launches national nonprofit to strengthen industry

Green Bay Press Gazette Reports

The proprietor of Wisconsin’s first Native American independently owned CBD company is creating a national organization to help other Indigenous entrepreneurs enter the cannabis industry.

Rob Pero, 46, who launched Canndigenous in 2021 in Cambridge, just east of Madison, said his nonprofit Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association is a way for him to give back to tribal communities to show how a business in cannabis can be done.

The association, ICIA, would create a “safe space” for interested tribal citizens and organizations to talk to each other to explore what can be done legally in Wisconsin and elsewhere, Pero said.

“Knowing the opportunities this plant can provide is so needed by tribal communities because of the opportunities of economic wealth,” he said.

Officials with his own tribe, the Bad River Ojibwe Nation in northern Wisconsin, and other Indigenous nations have expressed interest, he said.

“Each tribe has its own constitution for what they can do, so it’s all really nuanced and on a case-by-case basis,” Pero said. “Can tribes utilize sovereignty in Wisconsin and go legal on reservations (with potent THC products including marijuana)? We can’t say, right now.”


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