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The Prairie Island Indian Community announced plans to enter the cannabis industry this year, joining a trend among tribal nations in Minnesota. 

The tribe said it had launched a new Native cannabis company called Island Peži that plans to compete in the state’s adult-use recreational cannabis market. Pending tribal licensing and approvals, Island Peži plans to open a dispensary this summer next to its Dakota Station convenience store in Welch, Minn.  

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Island Peži is owned and operated by CBH, Inc., a Prairie Island Indian Community corporation created to manage its cannabis-related economic development interests. The tribe’s newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission will regulate cannabis business activity within Prairie Island’s jurisdiction. 

“Island Peži is a step forward in our efforts to diversify our economy and strengthen our Tribe's long-term financial sovereignty,” Prairie Island Tribal Council President Grant Johnson said in a statement. “We’re excited to be among the first to enter the cannabis market and create new opportunities for the future of our Tribe.”

Minnesota legalized marijuana possession last summer, but recreational sales are not expected to commence until next year. Several sovereign tribal nations in the state have forged ahead, unencumbered by the state’s licensing requirements. 

Earlier this month, the economic development arm of Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe commenced construction on a 50,000-square foot cannabis cultivation facility near the tribe’s casino in Onamia, Minn. Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV), which will operate the facility, has not announced plans to enter the retail dispensary business in the immediate future. 

Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation both opened dispensaries on tribal land last year, though their locations are nearly 250 miles north of the Twin Cities.

In contrast, Island Peži's upcoming dispensary will be situated just 45 miles from Minneapolis, offering a more accessible option for recreational marijuana consumers in the metropolitan area.

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