There are plenty of good reasons to move to a state like Colorado or Washington—the scenery, climate, schools, economy…
But for fuck's sake, please don't move to Denver or Seattle or anywhere just for marijuana.
Colorado officials say that they are seeing a big jump in the number of homeless people—an alarming number of them from Texas—in the state pretty much just to smoke weed.
Flagg says that a quarter of the new arrivals to their shelters are in Colorado for marijuana. The director of another shelter says that over 10 percent of their new clients are from Texas, and they are there for the legal weed as well.
"People tell us is that they think they can get a job because marijuana is legal here," said Tom Luehrs, executive director of the St. Francis Center, a day shelter in Denver.
"It wasn't the only reason but it was one of the main factors," Runa Renee Townsend, a homeless woman from Fort Worth, said of her reason for moving to Colorado.
Cannabis is a remarkable substance. It can ease tension, relieve pain and bring comfort and relief to a myriad of physical and emotional ailments. It also, of course, gets you really damn high.
But unless you are in that actually quite small percentage of medical marijuana patients who genuinely need the relief that only cannabis and its by-products can provide to live something resembling a normal life, picking up and moving to another state to be homeless just so you can smoke up is something only a complete and hopelessly burned-out stoner would think is a good idea.
Do the laws in Texas (and most other states) governing marijuana use and possession range from silly and unfair to downright draconian and cruel? Abso-fucking-lutely. But making a mad dash to the Rockies with nothing more than an empty hash pipe in your pocket isn't really going to make anything better for you or anybody else.
There are already plenty of painfully real causes for homelessness in America—the shitty economy, the collapse of the mental health system, abuse—and the desire to smoke a bowl doesn't come even remotely close to those things.
The ONLY reason that the marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington State were changed is because concerned individuals who believed the existing laws weren't fair got together, organized and risked their freedom and livelihoods by putting years of hard work into convincing a majority of voters to change the marijuana laws in their states.
In short, they worked their collective asses off and earned an extra bong hit or two for showing the rest of the states how it can be done, and saved the rest of the nation—and world—a lot of legal and political legwork in the process.
So if you don't like the marijuana laws in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, New York or any of the other 48 states where weed is still illegal—do what Colorado and Washington did and stay the fuck home and put some time and energy into changing the laws. Stop whining about how much the laws in your state sucks and how you can't wait to leave and get to work organizing and electing people who will change the laws.
Stop being a goddamn victim, and start being a goddamn citizen.
This is still a republic, and you still have the right to vote and make your voices heard.
Hell, run for office yourself—you don't need to be a president or a senator to make a difference. Start with a town council or county commissioner or school board or whatever. Most of the real change that happens in this nation starts locally anyway. It always has.
Besides, if you think your voice isn't being heard in Austin, do you honestly believe that smoking a bowl in a Denver homeless shelter is going to make it louder?
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