Senior Citizens Are America’s Fastest Growing Cannabis Consumer Base
While the media worries about teenagers' access to legal weed, it’s their grandparents who are actually getting stoned.
Published on August 11, 2017

Weed has been legally sold in Colorado shops for over three years now, but believe it or not there are still plenty of adults interested in experiment with weed weed that haven’t yet flicked a Bic or, enjoyed an edible. Every week though, more and more of the state’s senior citizens are learning about the benefit of cannabis and breaking away from a longstanding fear of reefer madness.

According to Denver’s local CBS affiliate, retirement communities across the Centennial State have been hosting some particularly interesting guest speakers lately; cannabis advocates. At a recent event in Louisville, CO, representatives from Stratos, a local legal weed company, were trying their best to convince a room packed full of seniors that marijuana could help them with chronic pain and add a little recreational fun to the last leg of their lives.

For a generation that has often been inundated with anti-cannabis propaganda for their entire life, learning the facts about weed, paired with a lack of consequences thanks to recreational legalization, has Colorado’s elderly changing their tune. 

“I’ve generally felt that recreational drugs of any kind were no nos, and I still do. Cannabis seems to be somewhere in between.” Duane Kaniebs, a 91 year-old World War II, veteran said. “All of these years I thought it was in the same category of any other recreational drug.” But while Kaniebs and his peers might have assumed that the pills their doctors prescribed were safer than “the devil’s lettuce,” representatives from Stratos hope that the new information about cannabis could help curb prescription painkiller use. 

“I think they have tried a lot of pharmaceuticals and they’re looking to improve their quality of life,” Kate Heckman, a Stratos spokesperson, said. “It really appeared there was a gap in education for seniors.”

With that gap filling in, however, senior citizens are using cannabis at a record rate, with a national survey saying those 65 and older increased their use over 250% from 2007 to 2013. With recreational sales and new products like pills, tinctures and infused-beverages introduced to the public daily, the elderly cannabis market is poised for even more growth.

Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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