Yesterday we talked about Angela Hawken's C-Span interview about legalization of marijuana. In the interview she was fairly even handed about the issue, although she is in favor of legalization. And as a social scientist she's highly curious about what will happen in Colorado and Washington now that marijuana is legal. Aren't we all? We're fortunate to live in a country with 50 social laboratories.
Anyway, for all the positive that can be said about it, here's a downside to being one of the first states to do it. The homeless population has increased in some Colorado cities.
The theory is that legal marijuana has drawn some new people, particularly younger people, into the state. Maybe they're looking for jobs in the industry. My guess is that they're the 7% of regular marijuana users who are clinically dependent, meaning they're unproductive, can't get things done, and can't quit. They were motivated enough to go where they could smoke legally, but that was it. They don't have the resources to get a place to call home.
Perhaps that's the downside of being one of the first states to do it. When other states legalize marijuana one might expect a reduced rate of migration and the resulting homelessness.