Laramie County District Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg says that while pot may not cause crime, the legalization of marijuana clearly attracts criminals and transients who commit crimes

Sandburg says the crime rate patterns in Colorado before and after legalization clearly illustrate his point. The D.A. says through 2012 the crime rate in Colorado was declining, as was generally the pattern across most of the United States.

But he says the crime rate started to go up in Colorado in 2013, following a 2012 vote to legalize recreational use of marijuana. The D.A. says that while he knows several prosecuting attorneys in Colorado who favored legalization of marijuana a few years ago, none of them have the same opinion now.

Sandburg says legal marijuana, like other addictive habits, tends to attract high numbers of transients, who, in turn, increase the crime rate. He says legalization also attracts organized crime, which in many cases uses marijuana stores as a front operation for various criminal ventures.

The D.A. says another impact of legal weed in Colorado is an increasing number of children who are being taken into protective custody because their parents spend all day getting high rather than taking care of their responsibilities.

Sandburg says all of the trends associated with pot legalization in Colorado are also in play in Laramie County, driving up the crime rate and causing more children to be removed from homes where the parents are more focused on getting high than taking care of their children. Sandburg says on a recent daytime ''ride along'' with a Cheyenne Police officer, he was astounded at the number of calls involving transient the officer had to deal with.

The D.A. says it's clear that some of the transient population from Colorado is finding it's way to Laramie County. He says that trend may be increased by the fact that Wyoming residents tend to be more likely to be kind to people who are down on their luck than big city residents are.

Sandburg says the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is at least part of the reason why crime is increasing in Laramie County at a time when most Wyoming crime rates are going down.

More From KGAB