In late June, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa joined the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association (ICIA) as the Indigenous-led national cannabis nonprofit’s first member tribe.
The ICIA exists to create opportunities and equity in the cannabis and hemp industries for Indigenous people and tribal nations. By joining the association, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community will have access to the ICIA’s national network of cannabis industry leaders and resources to aid in industry exploration and development as well as regular engagement of tribal cannabis regulators and policy experts.
“Our tribe is excited to continue exploring and investing in hemp and cannabis development with the strategic partnership of ICIA. With the plant's healing medicinal properties and the economic opportunities that the industry provides, we’re optimistic about the impacts on our community,” said Robert VanZile, chairman of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community. “With ICIA in our corner, we’re poised to take a strategic and phased approach to entering this emerging industry. We’re continuing our path with a commitment to responsible and sustainable development.”
Founded in 2022 by Rob Pero, who is also the owner of Wisconsin’s first independent Native-owned hemp company Canndigenous, the ICIA is committed to growing its network of cannabis and hemp industry leaders and Tribal Nations across the United States.
“Tribal cannabis is in a unique position within the national hemp and cannabis industry. We have an unprecedented opportunity to build equity into policy reform. Ahead of federal cannabis legalization, we’re using our sovereignty to take a leadership position in the industry and penetrate markets before anyone else can,” says Pero. “It’s exciting that tribes are engaging us directly and leveraging the resources of the ICIA. All eyes are on us and we are going to do this the right way.”