COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In recent weeks, cleaning up homeless camps across El Paso County has forced the residents living inside to move from one place to another.
This ongoing issue is one that's felt across the state. A recent study done by CSU Pueblo said, "legal cannabis has potentially attracted 800 already homeless transients to Pueblo County; costing the community approximately $23 million."
We wanted to see if that was true for Colorado Springs.
Mayor John Suthers thinks so. He says, "There's clearly a relationship between homelessness in Colorado and access to marijuana, and I think that would account for the fact that Colorado for the most part Washington state have higher than average homelessness."
The access to recreational marijuana in Pueblo is vastly different than Colorado Springs. Most residents who want it here have to drive to Manitou Springs to get it. In Pueblo, Mayor Suthers says the community markets themselves as the place to go, "Pueblo, of course, advertises itself as the Napa Valley of marijuana, and they've made it a part of their economic development. Colorado Springs hasn't done that and frankly doesn't need to do that."
Colorado Springs hasn't done a study that definitely answers the question, why are so many homeless coming here? Suthers notes that the homeless population numbers may change as more states like California start to legalize the drug. He thinks it may attract people who flocked to Colorado and Washington to leave.