Native Americans, especially those in struggling reservations across the country, have had a pretty rough history with alcohol. It has damaged many communities and disproportionately affected young Native American lives over the rest of the population.
So one community has put on the brakes and went a different direction: towards marijuana.
Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has opened its door to weed, feeling that it’s a much safer alternative to alcohol, which they have banned for over 100 years.
“Cannabis is a natural plant that comes from the Earth — and our people lived off the land, and they got their medicine from the land. Our Indigenous people, they suffer a lot from diabetes and cancer and various other illnesses, but the cannabis really helps them,” said a customer at No Worries Dispensary on the Reservation.
Despite alcohol being banned in the reservation for most of its existence, about 25% of children born have health or behavioral problems from exposure to alcohol in the womb.
Most customers at the dispensary claim they use marijuana for its medicinal value, seeing its natural origins as a saving grace.
Reservations in other states have been given permission to sell marijuana before the state, including in New York, which still has yet to open its legal market outside of reservations.
Read the original article at NBC News.