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Senior Citizens Get a Crash Course in Cannabis at This Washington Retirement Home

Sound Vista Village offers retirees a field trip to a local pot shop for cannabis 101.

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Cannabis use is often assumed to be a young person’s game. When we talk about weed smokers, it’s often by conjuring images of class-skipping college kids and bearded hipsters, we rarely think of the elderly. But at one Seattle-area retirement home, residents recently took a field trip to a local pot shop to learn about cannabis, check out the goods, and try for themselves what their children have been raving about for all these years.

"You know we never thought of it for ourselves – we knew our kids were using it," Sound Vista Village resident Ilene Cohn told Seattle Pi. "(Village Concepts) offered this trip to us, and we thought it was very exciting. We've gotten little bits of information, enough to whet our appetite to hear more and see more."

The field trip was put together by Village Concepts, a retirement community conglomerate that owns and operates Sound Vista Village in Gig Harbor and 16 other Washington communities. The cannabis workshop and shopping spree came after the Sound Vista started replacing activities programs with more focused educational opportunities. The seniors had already raised questions about medical marijuana and the state’s recreational use laws, so staff saw a perfect opportunity for an off campus excursion.

After a slow start to the sign-up sheet, nine Sound Vista Village residents eventually piled into a bus and took a trip to Vela, a dispensary in neighboring Sodo, WA. The seniors got to explore the pot shop and their rows of product, but also got introductory lessons in CBD, strain types, vaping, edibles and more at Field Day and Suncliff, the independant grow house and extraction facility housed in the same facility as Vela’s retail location.

The seniors might not have grown up getting high, but they were more than open to learning about the super-plant, with one resident even apologizing for her generation’s largely ignorant mindset.

"We think it's very important, and this should have been done ages ago. And I'm sorry legalization hasn't happened sooner," Maria Scott, a Sound Vista resident, said.

Despite the interest, the field trip didn’t end with emptied wallets and shopping bags full of ganja. But some of the seniors did take advantage of the recreational use laws, and all of the residents certainly exceeded the state’s 21 year age restriction. Still, Barbara Krause, who made the group’s first purchase, swears that the CBD tincture she bought is a gift for her daughter and not herself.

But Barbara need not worry, Village Concepts is setting up more pot shop field trips as we speak, so there will be no shortage of opportunity.

"This is the first one, but it definitely won't be the last," Tracy Willis, director of corporate development at Village Concepts, said. "This is just one of our 17 communities, and we kind of piloted this one in Gig Harbor, and we're going to keep doing it as long as they'll have us."

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