Troy Eid: Marijuana experiment in Colorado hurts Indian youth

Troy Eid. Photo from Illinifann / Wikipedia

Attorney Troy Eid, the chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission, calls on Congress to address the legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado:
"Our youth are abusing marijuana as never before. The stuff they're smoking and eating comes to our kids still in its packaging from Denver."

I'm on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, a seven-hour drive from Denver. The attorney general for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Tate (pronounced "Taah'tay") Means — daughter of the late American Indian Movement activist Russell Means — is describing how Colorado's experiment in marijuana legalization threatens law and order on one of the country's poorest Indian reservations.

Means, a 30ish Stanford University graduate, already confronts some of the toughest crime challenges anywhere. The reported sexual assault rate at Pine Ridge is 10 times the national average. But the new spike in marijuana abuse still comes as a shock. Means and her colleagues — we're joined by three tribal court judges — marvel at how Colorado voters thought they could keep our state's marijuana legalization experiment to ourselves.

I've heard this before from many other Native nations throughout the West. As chairman of a presidential commission that recommends public safety improvements on the 567 federally recognized Native nations across the United States, my status as a Colorado citizen is often what sparks the most interest. The Dakotas, New Mexico, Arizona — seems like wherever I travel — Native people ask me to talk about "diversion," the leakage of Colorado's state-legalized cannabis products on their teenagers and, yes, children.

Get the Story:
Troy Eid: Indian youth hurt by Colorado's marijuana experiment (The Denver Post 7/27)

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