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Denver area shelters cite legal marijuana as a reason for rise in homeless population

DENVER – Some Colorado service providers say a growing number of homeless people are moving to the state for its legal marijuana or for jobs in the industry.

No agency is keeping hard data on the number of homeless people who were drawn by the legal weed, which began being sold in retail stores in January.

But shelter directors who have surveyed their residents say many are citing legalization as a factor in their decisions to move.

Brett Van Sickle, director of Denver’s Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter, says it has more than doubled its staff in recent years to accommodate the increase.

One of the people staying there is Chris Easterling. He says he moved from Minneapolis because he was tired of relying on drug dealers and breaking the law.