Denver, Colorado has a massive homeless problem. Partially cause of its central geographical location, partially (meh) cause of legal weed and partially cause of the city’s greatness, it’s hard to walk down a street in downtown Denver without noticing the dereliction.
Denver looks more and more like Los Angeles’ skid row every week and the homeless issue can be classified as an epidemic that’s only worsening. In the 3.5 years I’ve lived in Denver, the homeless population and visibility has at least tripled (and maybe more).
And it’s an epidemic that (its arguable source) legal weed is now set to resolve. In his annual budget request, Governor Hickenlooper requested that the state put aside $12.3 million dollars of marijuana tax revenue to build 1,200 project-type housing units (in 2017) for the city’s homeless. The plan also calls for an additional 300 units every year for the next five years.
Those tax dollars (to the tune of $1.5 million) have been donated to this cause as recently as May–but this new initiative would take Colorado’s efforts a major step forward. This news represents a sky-breaking revelation for both Denver and legal weed’s impact:
His plan calls for an additional $6 million a year to help house low-income residents and people with behavioral-health needs. Another $4 million will be used to acquire or build 354 housing units dedicated to behavioral-health services, and $2 million is earmarked for another 250 affordable-housing units for seniors and people affected by rising housing costs. All told, that’s $24.3 million going to one of this state’s most urgent issues: affordable housing. [Westword]
And all the haters of legal weed just went silent. There’s a ton of benefits to legal weed, but most of them are financial. When your state legalizes weed, your state takes previous illegal dollars and turns them into tax revenue. That tax revenue literally can–and will–fix a city’s/state’s societal and educational problems.
With another four states on board this fall, America’s problems should ironically continue to see some healing during the Trump initiation. As long as weed stays legal…