Grandpa pass the pipe. Unless you are Willie Nelson’s grandchild the idea of smoking a joint with a grandparent is unthinkable, right? Well that might not be as far-fetched as it was in the past.
Recent studies show that marijuana usage among people over the age of fifty is on the rise in the United States. Over a period of six years from 2002-2008, the percentage of admitted drug use was up 1% overall, and soared to 5.1% among people between the ages of 55-59.
The rise of marijuana consumption among this age range is a reflection of a generation that grew up with a different view of the drug than even their parents had. Most of the baby boomers had experimented with the drug firsthand, and grew up during a time where fewer negative stereotypes existed.
While the majority of their generation put down the pipe after college graduation, recent trends show that some of these retirees are starting to come back as recreational users. Their reasons for using have also changed. Many of these American’s are finding medicinal purposes to smoke in their later years as opposed to just getting high as an adolescent. They use marijuana now to deal with the everyday aches and pains that go along with getting older. The drug also has done wonders helping people cope with chronic pain, glaucoma and various other diseases.
Like with anything medicinal marijuana also has its side affects. People who use this drug are at a higher risk for heart disease and can have mental impairment. Doctors recognize that patients have had positive results from their usage but would recommend other forms of medication to deal with their medical problems. The use of marijuana is medically legal in 14 states.
The legalization of marijuana has been a hot button topic for years. Supporters of legalization believe that their main opposition for change has been older Americans who are unfamiliar with the drug. These American’s grew up with negative conceptions about marijuana and have always been the biggest detractors of it becoming legal. Now the baby boomer generation that has different views on the drug is becoming their biggest enemy against legalization.
Advocates for legalizing marijuana believe that if the trend of older Americans using the drug continues to rise at the same time their generation is becoming the over 50 demographic that it will have positive results for their cause.