The elderly represent the largest medical marijuana consumer group. However, more and more senior citizens are turning to marijuana for recreational purposes — and it’s not just the aging baby boomers that left the substance behind in college. Some retirees are trying marijuana for the first time.
In 2011, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.3% of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 used marijuana, more than double the percentage that reported it 10 years ago.
HuffPost Live streamed “Grandparents & Ganja,” a discussion about marijuana’s unexpected clientele. Speakers included: MPP’s communications director, Mason Tvert; Mason’s grandmother, Helen Shuller; Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML; and former Washington State Senator George Rohrbacher. During the conversation, Helen was asked if older voters would be in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. “[T]here’s a great deal of money to be raised by taxing marijuana,” she replied. “If that will relieve the worries about future social security and Medicare, older people will be very much in favor of it.”
The New York Times also explored marijuana’s popularity among the elderly. The newspaper spoke with a number of retirees, including Mason’s grandparents. “Most of us are either retiring or are retired,” Helen told the Times. “You don’t have to worry about your job knowing, so it’s a little easier for us. I don’t care if you use my name, I don’t care if they know!”