Homeless centers in Denver, Colorado, say the state’s decision to legalize pot has spawned an influx of homelessness that strained the state’s system, according to the Associated Press.
Officials say legalized marijuana is a magnet, attracting homeless from across the nation in search of legal weed.
The Denver Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter says that nearly one in three of their 500 out-of-town homeless visitors between July and September said they relocated to Colorado for legal marijuana.
“The older ones care coming for medical (marijuana), the younger ones are coming just because it’s legal,” said Brett Van Sickle, director of the Denver Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter.
Denver has also seen a rise in youth homelessness. Urban Peak, which specializes in services for 15 to 25-year-olds, says its numbers have surged from 328 last year to 829 this year. According to director Kim Easton, one out of three newcomers said legal weed was a driving factor in their decision to move to Colorado.