State Senator Ted Harvey appeared on Fox and Friends today to comment on an “informal” poll of 500 people staying at a Denver homeless shelter, 30% of which supposedly moved to the state because of the new laws legalizing marijuana:
I’m skeptical about this fearmongering — vote for legal weed and it will draw in a bunch of bums to your state! — for a few reasons. First, the claim itself is little more than the hearsay of annoyed employees at one location. According to CBS, other shelters have not noticed any increases:
The shelter did an informal survey of the roughly 500 new out-of-towners who stayed there between July and September and found as many as 30 percent had relocated for pot, he said.
Shelters in some other parts of the state said they haven’t noticed the problem or haven’t surveyed their residents about it.
Colorado’s homeless population and its marijuana dispensaries are both concentrated in Denver, which could be why centers say they are experiencing a more noticeable rise.
Other factors could be driving the rising homeless rates. Colorado’s economy is thriving, but the number of affordable homes and apartments is shrinking.
Julie Smith of Denver’s Road Home, a city plan that aims to end homelessness, said the city’s rising overall population could be a reason for an increase in the number homeless people.
She said the agency has heard anecdotal reports about homeless people moving to the state for the marijuana, but officials don’t have any numbers to support that assertion.
The second reason for skepticism, the Big Rock Candy Mountain of legal weed has already been built for over a decade, further West.
If you’re going to choose to be homeless and subsist off of other people’s stupidity and gullibility so you can lie around and do drugs all day (and that’s what we’re actually talking about here — a lifestyle choice, not a disease), then why do it in Denver when you could do it in California sans snow and with even more naive people to dupe into supporting you? From the Huffington Post in September:
Starting next summer, Berkeley residents who earn less than $32,000 per year (or $46,000 per family) and have a prescription for medical marijuana will be able to get it for free from one of the dispensaries operating within the city.
Under a law passed unanimously by the city council, dispensaries must set aside 2 percent of their pot for distribution to the poor.
Not everyone is on board with the plan.
“It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” Bishop Ron Allen, head of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”
But supporters say that marijuana is recognized as a legal medicine in the state of California (although not federally). And as medicine, people who need it shouldn’t be kept away from it due to lack of funds.
“Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco.
“There are some truly compassionate cases that need to have medical marijuana,” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates told The New York Times. “But it’s expensive. You hear stories about people dying from cancer who don’t have the money.”
So to summarize: over the course of decades, marijuana will go from illegal to countercultural to medicine to respected (and constitutionally protected) recreation to tax-payer funded subsidy, to… mandatory part of every health insurance plan? (Everything not forbidden is compulsory, right?) How long until everyone’s monthly weed allocation has to be paid for by their employer? How long until weed is subsidized by taxpayers at the rate of all the other industries from corn to healthcare? Who’s up for a fun slide down the slippery slope?
What are your predictions for what America might look like in 2020 or 2025 as the state-by-state marijuana legalization experiment continues?