What comes to mind when you think of first-time cannabis users? Who do you think represents the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users? If you said millenials or Gen-Xer’s, you’d be wrong. It’s actually baby boomers and other senior citizens. According to CBS News, the number of U.S. cannabis users over the age of 55 has increased from 2.8 million to 4.3 million within the past three years.
Reporters at CBS News agree that more seniors switching to natural cannabis, as a safer alternative to prescription drugs is a good thing. People 55 and older are 14 percent of the national population, yet they consume over 30 percent of prescription drugs in the U.S.
CBS News interviewed Steve DeAngelo, owner of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center. DeAngelo thinks even more seniors will switch to cannabis for pain management and other ailments as the legal industry continues to grow.
“There’s an ironic, almost tragic phenomenon, which is that seniors, who are one of the groups who can most benefit from use of cannabis, are the single group which remains most opposed to reforming cannabis laws,” DeAngelo said in the interview with CBS News.
DeAngelo and his colleagues have been reaching out to seniors about cannabis for years. He is spot on in his reasoning. Seniors likely make up the largest group of American voters who still oppose cannabis legalization. And while seniors tend to vote more than young people, reaching out to them about cannabis could be crucial in the fight for legalization.
“We’ll see our grandmothers and our grandfathers and our great grandmothers and our great grandfathers benefiting from this substance and advocating that use. Who wants to fight with their grandmother and their grandfather?” DeAngelo added.
As the 2016 election cycle heats up, cannabis legalization remains a hot button issue. Despite some candidates seemingly favoring decriminalization if not outright legalization, almost all have trotted out the same prohibitionist rhetoric we’ve heard from the establishment for years. There’s good reason for this. Even the politicians who seem to be the most people-minded still have the interest of police unions on their minds. And they know that as a whole, police unions vote for the continuance of cannabis prohibition in droves.
As soon as you get finished reading this, go have an honest conversation with your grandparents about cannabis. They could help end the plant’s senseless, near-century old prohibition once and for all.