Rob Pero speaks with Cannabis Tech Talks

Rob Pero Talks Indigenous Cannabis Business Opportunities

Rob Pero is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on bringing the cannabis industry to Indigenous communities. 

Through various endeavors, including helping bring advocacy groups like the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association and the Indigenous Business Group to life, he strives to honor his heritage and Ojibwe roots while ensuring Indigenous operators have a place at the cannabis table. 

Pero, the CEO and creative director of Paradigm Media, spoke with Cannabis & Tech Today’s Patricia Miller while at this year’s MJBizCon in Las Vegas to discuss first time feelings and MJBizCon and various market movements and how they’re affecting the Indigenous community.

Patricia Miller (L) and Rob Pero (R)

Cannabis & Tech Today: How’s the show treating you so far? 

Rob Pero: This is my first MJBizCon. It’s everything a stoner like me wanted to see when I was in high school and now it’s real and this is a professional environment and it’s super cool. I’m happy to be here.

Isn’t it strange? I have that constant feeling of surrealism because it’s I never imagined

There’s just so much irony and kind of every conversation. When you really think about where we were 20 years ago and you know, where we are now and still how much catching up there is yet to do.

Yeah. Well said. Tell our listeners a bit about the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association.

Yeah. Thank you. And we appreciate being here. We are a 501(c)6 trade association for indigenous cannabis. That is tribes, tribal operators, tribal owned businesses. That’s non-native partners that want to help kind of advance the industry in a good way for us, because we need it, from an economic diversification method to a workforce developer.

Are you working nationally?

We are sort of internationally. Indigenous is international. We don’t really see state lines or, you know, indigenous communities are kind of all communities. So no real borders, which is great.

So what kind of challenges did you set out to solve for the communities you’re working with?

Well, it’s a lot of what’s in your word, you know? It’s technical assistance, for us, it’s, how do we do this? How can we bring skill sets back? For me, how can I become a farmer? Because I was a businessman and I wanted to get into hemp and cannabis and in Wisconsin, we only have hemp. So that was my first kind of, I threw my hat in the ring there.

Yeah, great call. So what are some projects you’re working on currently that you’re most excited about?

You know, there’s different facets to what we do. So a lot of it is technical assistance for whatever level or phase of cannabis they’re in.

Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And I’m excited to see more hemp development, especially in the United States. I think it’s an underdeveloped industry here and we still have to do, to me, a wild amount of import for hemp, considering what it could be, I think.

Yeah. And processing too. I think the only approved processing facility in the Midwest is in Missouri right now.

Yeah, absolutely. I spoke with a woman yesterday who was telling me that Mexico is actually heavily investing in hemp manufacturing. They already have so many manufacturing facilities that are perfect for it. They’re working to become an exporter also of some hemp building materials, like hemp sheets.

It is, it is. And it’s sort of limitless, you know, we could go down the rabbit hole and talk about all the uses of industrial hemp and, you know, say, what the heck are we doing?

Read the full interview with Rob Pero in the upcoming print edition of Cannabis & Tech Today. Don’t want to wait? Listen or watch the full Rob Pero interview now.


  • Cannabis & Tech Today is the premier publication for inspiring business profiles, exclusive interviews with thought leaders in the field, science innovations, and insights on new legislation and growth in the cannabis market.

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