It has been nearly two years since Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in the state. Since then, many figures have shown the overwhelming positives of the Amendment changes. Huge financial profits through marijuana taxation and unprecedented declines in crime rates has silenced many doubters.
However, these new figures are the first to illuminate some of the apparent negatives that marijuana legalization have bought to the state. It is not local children who are becoming homeless through marijuana use as some may expect. It is in fact the huge influx of already homeless minors from all over the States trekking to Colorado, safe in the knowledge that they can purchase cannabis without punishment.
Talking to the Denver Post, Kendall Rames, the deputy director of Denver NPO Urban Peak stated,
“Of the new (Homeless) kids we’re seeing, the majority are saying they’re here because of the weed. They’re travelling through. It is very unfortunate,”.
Many of the young homeless in Denver are looking for work in the marijuana industry. The growth in Colorado’s employment market has seen many flock to the state in search of work, which is simply not as readily available as many believe. Murray Flagg, the social services secretary for the Salvation Army’s Inter-mountain Division remarked,
“Combined with an increase in those who arrive penniless and seeking jobs in the state’s strengthening employment market, the homeless influx is straining a service network already under stress”
Homeless shelters have reported a dramatic increase in demand in 2014 compared to previous years. In 2013, shelters were averaging 225 men each night, while 2014 has so far seen an average of between 300-325 men per night.
Do you think that Marijuana is causing young homeless men and women to flock to Denver? Have your say and leave your comments below.