Fair weather isn’t the only thing that U.S. retirees are thinking about when deciding where to spend their golden years. An increasing number of retirees are flocking to states that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana use in record numbers, growing exponentially, as more states further the marijuana legalization process. Chris Cooper can attest to this. A former investment adviser living in Toledo, Ohio, Cooper chose to live in San Diego partially because California has legalized medical marijuana.
Cooper Preferred Using Marijuana For Pain Relief
Cooper is 57 and has chronic back pain as a result of an accident where he suffered a crushed disc and a fractured vertebrae. He didn’t like the assortment of side effects of powerful painkillers like Vicodin that are commonly prescribed for pain, and after diligent research, found that marijuana helped to ease his symptoms. He spends about $150 per month on medical marijuana and sees many others in his age group at the dispensaries that he frequents.
More seniors are using marijuana than ever before. Based on research from its most recent sample study size conducted in 2013, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.3 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 used marijuana, where just 2.7 percent used it in 2002.
23 States Currently Allow Medical Marijuana Use
There are now 23 states that have legalized some form of medical marijuana use, along with the District of Columbia. A few others like Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have legalized recreational use. Data from United Van Lines
showed that Oregon was the top overall moving destination in 2014, and that Colorado was the top retiree destination. A third of those who moved to Colorado said they were going there specifically to retire.
Many Seniors Prefer Marijuana Use Over Traditional Medications
Many of the health conditions or symptoms that seniors suffer from such as chronic pain, glaucoma, inflammation, nausea and others can be treated with medical marijuana, which is a primary reason why its usage is increasing.
The exact number of seniors that are moving to pot friendly states is hard to determine, but Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at UCLA said, “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana.”
Some like Diana-Marie Williams of Moms for Marijuana International
believe that senior marijuana use is also increasing because of the fact that retirees don’t have to worry about losing a job due to failing a drug test. She also mentions that seniors are also not as concerned about setting a good example for their children at later stages in their lives
As marijuana continues to become more socially acceptable and most of all, legal, it’s expected that larger numbers of seniors will consider using it for relief from a plethora of medical conditions because of its relatively minor side effects compared to many conventional pharmaceuticals.