Tribal nations tap into cannabis industry with Cambridge business owner’s help

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CAMBRIDGE, Wis. (WMTV) – A Cambridge business owner is leading the charge in helping other Native Americans break into the cannabis industry on the coast.

Rob Pero runs Canndigenous, Wisconsin’s first independent, indigenously owned cannabis company.

“These are medicines that we’ve collected over the centuries to heal ourselves, so it makes sense, as indigenous people, we use them to do the same thing as cannabis or hemp,” he said. .

Hemp cannabis is legal in Wisconsin. Hemp and marijuana are siblings under the umbrella category of cannabis. Hemp does not have the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

“Cannabis is another new industry that hasn’t been tapped into for many tribes,” said Pero, who is from Bad River and Oneida.

Perot also sees challenges as he wants tribes to trade with each other and build a sustainable economy. “There’s nothing easy about getting into cannabis,” he said. There’s a lot of stigma around cannabis, especially in Indian land, because of narcotics and opioids and fentanyl. There’s a lot of historical damage there.”

“Our immediate motivation is to help this crazy, crazy addiction in our people,” said Michael John Decora, senior intergovernmental affairs specialist for the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

Decorah has promoted the benefits of herbal medicine under the St. Croix name for at least a decade. “The goal of our leadership at that time was to help people dealing with addiction to trade in those needles and those pills that we see as medicine like hemp and cannabis,” he said.

The St. Croix Tribe is joining four other tribes in the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association (ICIA). Pero founded the network last year, hoping to see other entrepreneurs like him connect with tribal nations and industry leaders.

“We want to build ICIA, kind of, our table for knowledge, to share, to open up the industry, who are the honest sellers and the legitimate ability for tribes to trade with each other,” Pero said. .

According to Pero, other members of the ICIA include the Ho-Chuck Nation, Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Upper Chippewa.

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