On Saturday night, CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera ran a report by correspondent Scott McLean which highlighted concerns that marijuana legalization in Colorado has sparked an increase in violent crime by attracting more criminals to move to the state.
After noting that the day before was the 4/20 holiday that some Americans use to celebrate marijuana, host Cabrera recalled that several Senate Democrats are pushing to legalize marijuana nationally, and then segued: "Meantime, in Colorado, where marijuana has been legal for several years now, there's a debate over whether marijuana is increasing crime in that state."
Then began a pre-recorded report in which McLean was seen speaking with Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, with the CNN correspondent posing: "You thought that legal marijuana would put the black market out of business."
After a clip of Sheriff Smith asserting that the "opposite" of his expectations that crime would drop was what has actually happened, McLean continued: "The sheriff says legalization of recreational marijuana has not only fueled the black market, but also Colorado's crime rate."
The CNN reporter soon added: "Smith thinks one reason is that legal marijuana is attracting a growing transient population that's more likely to commit crime."
Then came a clip of Sheriff Smith recalling that transients make up a large portion of the prison population, who then added, "And you go by and ask them, most of them will tell you, 'We came here because of marijuana.'"
After spending time with another law enforcement officer who did not have the view that crime data prove marijuana has caused an crime increase, although he did not rule it out, McLean went to Colorado Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and informed viewers that he also has not ruled out the possibility that marijuana is leading to more crime: "He's not convinced that pot has led to more crime, but he's also not sure the opposite is true."
One gets the feeling that Cabrera is one CNN journalist who is not left-leaning on the drug legalization issue, since a year ago she put together her own report documenting an increase in illegal exports of marijuana from Colorado that was causing problems for the state's law enforcement.