According to sources at CBS Denver, Colorado’s legal marijuana is attracting more than pot tourists and business entrepreneurs to the “Centennial State”. It’s also luring another group: the destitute, some of whom make their way to Colorado in hopes of obtaining employment on the marijuana business.
David Spencer, a homeless man from Tennessee, said: “There’s an enormous migration, even a homeless movement, so to speak. I figured this would be a good place to start over.”
Denver-area shelters are reported to be “quickly running out of room.” In fact, Murray Flagg of the Salvation Army stated: “We were averaging 190 (homeless) last year. We’re now averaging 345 a night.”
The executive director of St. Francis Center, Tom Luehrs, said that there is little room at his center and reiterates that the main reason the homeless are relocating to Colorado is because they are seeking employment in the new legal marijuana industry. He comments: “People see that the marijuana business has been flourishing here,” he says, “so they match up good business . . .and jobs must be available, which they are.”
He adds: “We’ve seen as many as 45 new people in one day. I think it was one of the unintended consequences of the marijuana legalization.”
The Obama administration took actions recently that will help to at least aid the new industry if not address the newly-relocated homeless population. Last Friday the White House issued new law-enforcement guidelines focused on encouraging banks to start doing business with state-licensed marijuana suppliers, despite the fact that marijuana-related businesses are still illegal under federal law.
The policy is specifically meant to deal with issues faced by Colorado’s new recreational marijuana vendors and medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, which must currently be run on “a cash-only basis” with no access to credit or any other financial services. Unfortunately, one problem remaining is that Colorado law presently requires anyone employed in the marijuana business to be a resident there for one year before he/she can be hired.
Legal Marijuana Lures Homeless