Baby boomers have lived through Woodstock, the Vietnam War, the Age of Aquarius. Many of them started smoking marijuana as young adults and never saw the need to stop. Others came to marijuana late in life to deal with illness or the pains that come along with aging.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA
) cites that substance use is increasing in older adults. It is estimated that 4.3 million American adults over the age of 50 had used an illicit drug during the past year. Gender plays a role in the numbers with more men (8.5 percent) than women (3.9 percent) admitting to smoking marijuana for non-medical use.
Marijuana is the drug of choice for seniors 50 to 59. After the age of 60 more seniors turn to non-medical use of prescription medication
One Boomer I spoke with at one time debated on national television for smoking pot but he no longer smokes pot due to health reasons. His friends, however, have never stopped.
When asked if any of his friends were held back in life because of smoking pot, he quickly said that pot didn't hold them back.
One person I spoke to nearing the retirement years has owned his own business since 1967. He took his first hit when he was 21, 43 years ago.
"I think it should be legal. I think that smoking pot has been a positive for myself, taking off the sharp edges of my personality."
(Because of legal issues names are not being used for this article)