What happens when a state legalizes marijuana? Just ask Colorado who has seen their fair of problems since the law went into effect. They blame their homelessness on housing issues not legalization of marijuana.
Colorado has seen a rise in the number of homeless within their state following the passage of the marijuana law but they may be overlooking the “root” cause for the increase.
Some believe the growth in homelessness is due to the fact that transients moving into the area can’t find housing. They reason that if housing were affordable and available then there would not be a homeless problem.
Cities like Denver agree. Denver doesn’t see the issue of homelessness as being related to legalized pot but rather a lack of housing due to a booming economy.
Erik Solivan, Denver’s homeless expert explains:
“As our unemployment rate continues to decline we have a number of service workers, folks working at construction sites, working at our ballparks, and our service industry, who cannot afford the rent.”
Solivan states further that three quarters of the city’s homeless are employed.
However, this argument doesn’t particularly seem to hold up.
If people are working and have money but don’t have the ability to rent due to shortages and high rates, wouldn’t it make sense that these same people would find alternatives such as camping in public parks, buying or renting mobile homes or constructing tiny homes?
Many in Colorado blame the problem on the legalization of pot and the influx of homeless into their state who may not be employable due to drug addictions and other mental health issues.
They assume that these individuals were already homeless and merely relocated to Colorado because of the easier access to pot.
It was reported in May 2017, that the small tourist area of Durango, Colo., was witnessing their town turn into a haven for recreational pot users, transients and panhandlers and an increased number of drug addicts from as far away as New York.
A homeless man who was interviewed on the street while holding a cardboard sign asking for ‘help’ said:
“Legalized marijuana has drawn a lot of kids here from other states and the impact has not all been good.”
A business owner seemed to confirm what the homeless man was saying when he indicated:
“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets.”
The city has also noted an uptick of cardboard sign carriers asking for pot by drawing a green pot leaf on the sign. No one was reportedly asking for employment or a place to live.
So, while the cause may not be clear to those in Colorado, what is clear is that the number of homeless in Colorado has jumped 13 percent from 2015 to 2016. Nationally, homelessness declined by three percent during the same period based upon U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics.
The homeless issue has grown so large in cities like Denver that they now prohibit people from sleeping on the sidewalks, in parks and other public areas at night. They’ve also begun to confiscate items in sweeps that are left on the streets by the homeless.
Is the real issue being addressed or is Colorado reluctant to admit that the legalization of pot has created a “monster” in more ways than one?
© 2017, admin. The Logo and Photos (by Susan Knowles) are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Susan J. Knowles. Copyright 2014 Susan J. Knowles All Rights Reserved.