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Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet Colorado, homeless, zoning, crime

The town suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers and a large number of homeless drug addicts, according to officials and business owners. Many are coming from New Mexico, Arizona and even New York.
He said he’s also noticed an uptick in crime in the area. Shoplifting, he said, has become a major problem in Durango and business owners are becoming fed up.

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Is Pot Losing Its Buzz in Colorado? Colorado, Pueblo, homeless, crime, Taxes, video

Now, as citizen groups attempt to put the brakes on the growing industry, a heated debate has emerged about the drug’s societal impact. Doctors report a spike in pot-related emergency room visits—mostly due to people accidentally consuming too much of potent edible pot products. Police face new cartel-related drug operations. Parents worry about marijuana being sold near their homes and schools. And less affluent communities like Pueblo struggle with the unintended consequences of becoming home to this emerging and controversial industry.
Groups serving the poor in Pueblo report a flood of homeless people arriving from other states. Local homeless shelter Posada, for instance, has witnessed a 47% jump in demand since 2014, including 1,200 people who reported to shelter workers that they came to smoke pot or get jobs in the industry, says Posada’s director, Anne Stattelman. She says her funding is tapped out. “It’s changed the culture of our community,” she says.
Since 2013, law officials say, they have busted 88 drug cartel operations across the state, and just last year law-enforcement made a bust that recovered $12 million in illegal marijuana. Adds Coffman: “That’s crime we hadn’t previously had in Colorado.”
Another surprise to many Coloradans is that a promised huge tax windfall to benefit schools hasn’t materialized. Of the $135 million generated in 2015, for example, $20 million goes to regulatory and public-safety efforts related to cannabis, $40 million funds small rural school construction projects, and the rest goes to youth drug prevention and abuse programs. That’s a drop in the bucket for a $6.2 billion education budget.
For a growing number of her neighbors, however, legalized marijuana is starting to feel like a really bad high.

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2018 Colorado budget: Gov. John Hickenlooper proposes $28.5 billion plan with deep cuts Colorado, homeless, students

The Governor is now proposing new and significant budget cuts for this upcoming legislation session in the following areas:  capital construction for our schools, health and human services,  public safety/courts, healthcare including Colorado hospitals, and education including K-12 and higher education.  Areas that have experienced and reported increased negative impacts and/or costs associated with increased marijuana availability/commercialization.  

Areas mentioned where marijuana tax revenues will be spent highlight some of the negative impacts from increased marijuana availability/commercialization, and include:  

"Hiring of more mental health professionals in schools and child welfare caseworkers“

$18 million program to create affordable housing for the homeless" (Denver has reported dramatic increases in student homelessness as has other areas in Colorado.)

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Posada- Bringing Pueblo Home Colorado, Pueblo, homeless, powerpoint 4
Marijuana Legalization: Pot Brings Poor People To Colorado, But What’s Being Done To Help Them? Colorado, homeless

“I am going to get the highest I’ve been here,” he said between coughs of smoke, gazing across the rolling grasslands that stretched to hazy Rocky Mountain foothills far to the west. “This place is awesome. You don’t get anything like this in Texas.”

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Marijuana Legalization: Pot Brings Poor People To Colorado, But What’s Being Done To Help Them? Colorado, homeless

In Colorado, homeless programs are severely overextended, housing costs are skyrocketing and while marijuana might be legal, public consumption of it isn’t — which means those like Butts who don’t have private residences can still face harsh consequences for using it. It doesn’t help that marijuana jobs are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain by those struggling with homelessness. 

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Marijuana Legalization In Colorado: How Recreational Weed Is Attracting People, But Spiking The State’s Homeless Rate Colorado, homeless, denver

All told, several hundred marijuana migrants struggling with poverty appear to be arriving in Colorado each month. Some of them, like Butts, come to use cannabis recreationally or medically without the fear of arrest. Others are hoping to get jobs in the new industry. But many arrive to find homeless services stretched to the breaking point, local housing costs increasingly prohibitive and cannabis use laws that penalize those without private residences.
Fresh off the bus from Texas, Butts didn’t know any of this. He was still optimistic that legal marijuana would be his lifeline as he struck out on a new path. “I’m going to get clean, man,” he said. “That’s what the marijuana industry is for. I think being here in Colorado is going to help.”

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Welcome to Pueblo, Colorado: the 'pot rush' town for the marijuana industry Colorado, Pueblo, homeless, medicaid

The overstuffed vehicles parked outside Pueblo’s Posada, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless families, have license plates from as far away as South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida and Texas.
Those families have come in what social service agencies here see as a perfect storm: legal marijuana, Colorado’s Medicaid expansion (which extends coverage to all qualified adults under the 2010 Affordable Care Act), and Pueblo’s ranking as one of the least expensive cities to live in the US.
Is this what we want in Florida?

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Legalized marijuana draws homeless Texans to Colorado homeless, Colorado-0

"We were averaging 190 people a night. Now we are averaging 345 people a night," said Murray Flagg, the Salvation Army Intermountain Divisional secretary for social services.

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