Synthetic cannabinoids, often marketed with labels like "Spice" and "K2," have been deemed illegal in many jurisdictions due to their harmful health impacts. Photo by U.S. Marine Corps
Laced Marijuana Hits Pine Ridge Streets
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor
PINE RIDGE – On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation more and more tribal-citizens are coming up ill after unknowingly smoking marijuana that has been laced with other drugs.
Last month, an elderly community member had to be rushed to the hospital after it was discovered that she had been up for more than three days and was displaying symptoms consistent with a heart attack.
After an investigation by the family into what led up to their mother’s condition it was determined that she had consumed marijuana that had been laced with the synthetic drug Spice. Spice, as well as other synthetic cannabinoids like K-2, have been marketed as an alternative to marijuana but are chemically different and provide users with a high similar to methamphetamine or PCP.
Although the use marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in 28-states, South Dakota has voted down attempts to legalize medical marijuana before and the plant remains illegal across the Oglala Lakota Nation.
The community member had previously used marijuana to treat an arthritic condition, but when her supply of high grade cannabis ran out, she sent a family member to purchase “a few joints” locally. The marijuana that was brought back to her had apparently been laced with Spice. Consumption of the synthetic marijuana led to an allergic reaction that landed the subject in the hospital where she is currently recovering.
John Mousseau, founder of the security agency Canksa’ Yuha and a former tribal police officer, said that there are starting to be more and more instances of people unknowingly smoking laced marijuana.
“They have been doing it for a while here,” said Mousseau. “They lace it with Spice, meth, or other chemicals to get people addicted and increase profit,” he said.
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Mousseau says that from what he has seen he believes that the marijuana is not being tainted locally but that it arrives on the reservation already containing the foreign substances.
“There has been weed captured while being transported by police and subjected to field tests where it has been determined to have other drugs on it,” he said.
Nurses at Indian Health Service have stated that there have been multiple patients who have come to the emergency room under the influence of drugs like methamphetamine, but have these same patients have stated that they only remembered smoking marijuana.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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