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Senior stoners

Makes a lot of sense, really.

Most states now have legal medical marijuana, and 10 of them, including California, allow anyone 21 or older to use pot recreationally. The federal government still outlaws the drug even as acceptance increases. The 2018 General Social Survey, an annual sampling of Americans’ views, found a record 61 percent back legalization, and those 65 and older are increasingly supportive.

Indeed, many industry officials say the fastest-growing segment of their customer base is people like Atkin — aging baby boomers or even those a little older who are seeking to treat the aches and sleeplessness and other maladies of old age with the same herb that many of them once passed around at parties.

“I would say the average age of our customers is around 60, maybe even a little older,” said Kelty Richardson, a registered nurse with the Halos Health clinic in Boulder, Colorado, which provides medical examinations and sells physician-recommended cannabis through its online store.

Its medical director, Dr. Joseph Cohen, conducts “Cannabis 101” seminars at the nearby Balfour Senior Living community for residents who want to know which strains are best for easing arthritic pain or improving sleep.

Relatively little scientific study has verified the benefits of marijuana for specific problems. There’s evidence pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, according to a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, but the study also concluded that the lack of scientific information poses a risk to public health.

[…]

People Lee’s age — 65 and over — are the fastest-growing segment of the marijuana-using population, said Dr. Gary Small, professor of psychiatry and aging at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He believes more studies on the drug’s effects on older people are needed. And while it may improve quality of life by relieving pain, anxiety and other problems, he said, careless, unsupervised use can cause trouble.

“We know that cannabis can cause side effects, particularly in older people,” he said. “They can get dizzy. It can even impair memory if the dose is too high or new ingredients are wrong. And dizziness can lead to falls, which can be quite serious.”

Richardson said Colorado saw an uptick in hospital visits by older users soon after the state legalized cannabis in 2012. The problem, he said, was often caused by novices downing too many edibles.

I don’t often blog about stories from other states, but with the Lege in session and efforts continuing to expand marijuana legalization here, this seemed useful to note. I’ll say this much, the people described in this story – mostly white people over the age of 60 – is a pretty good representation of the Republican Party base here in Texas (and elsewhere, to be honest). Given that the single biggest impediment to loosening the marijuana laws in Texas is Dan Patrick, any real progress in the short term is going to have to come from his voters telling him they want to see progress on this front. Longer term, we can try to use this issue (among many others) to boot him out of office in 2022, but between now and then is at least one more legislative session. If you want better pot laws in this state, get your old relatives to call Dan Patrick’s office and tell him that’s what they want, too.

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6 Comments

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    Tell Dan Patrick that we need more Pot Heads. Tell him to ignore the fact that it is a gateway drug for some people. Tell him to face the facts Pot=better citizen.

  2. C.L. says:

    Beer is a gateway drug to Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey, but I don’t see anyone having a problem with beer sales.

  3. Paul Kubosh says:

    C.l. beer has alcohol has destroyed the lives of millions of people. We enjoy the Carnage so much we are going to add another drug to legally abuse. Just say I like the misery it will bring and support it. Don’t get mad it is going your way.

  4. C.L. says:

    You can’t have it both ways…

    Alcohol bad, ban alcohol. Prohibition… Repeal of prohibition. Beer sales okay, hard liquor sales okay…but no hard liquor sales on Sunday…unless you’re in a Country Club sucking down Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

    Pot bad, ban pot. Federal enforcement, Just Say No. Pot still illegal but okay if under a couple grams in your possession, okay to grow it but only if you limit yourself to farming 20 plants of less, okay to get medical pot if have a prescription, okay to smoke it freely if you live in a handful of States… Texas: Ignore the tax windfalls and the reduced fellas in jail (or, for goodness sake, the fact that industrial hemp could be used for paper and rope, etc., AND HAS NO THC), let’s just keep it illegal because we can.

    I don’t see a bunch of miserable people in CO or CA or MA or….Canada. I’m way more concerned with the free issuance of opioid prescriptions than I am with someone wanting to burn a fatty and listen to DSOTM in the comfort of their own home.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    Sigh…..I don’t know why I bother. Gag at a bar and swallow a camel. Have a good night.

  6. C.L. says:

    Reefer Madness has come and gone.