Seniors learn benefits of cannabis

Because of the purported medical benefits of marijuana, many are questioning why the legalization of cannabis took so long. While the ‘just say no’ attitude of a reluctant older generation blocked marijuana’s acceptance for decades, the industry is quickly realizing that many of today’s senior citizens are just as interested in cannabis as their grandchildren.

Horizons, a Calabasas apartment complex for residents over 55, is shedding old stereotypes about reefer madness and deciding to embrace cannabis, not fight it.

From the Earth, a Port Hueneme based cannabis dispensary, has been visiting the seniors who live in the Malibu Hills Road apartments and educating them about the uses of cannabis. The dispensary is also delivering products to their doors.

David Moss, From the Earth’s chief operating officer, said it’s been a month since the business started hosting regular question-and-answer sessions to teach Horizons residents about the different ways they can use cannabis and take advantage of its benefits.

“Going in I thought we’d really have to convince them it’s okay, but just by the fact that the room was filled, that showed out of the gate—I was surprised there was as much interest as there was,” Moss said. “They’re seeing and hearing that there are a lot of potential benefits.”

The monthly instructional seminars focus on a different topics— tinctures, topical creams or edibles, for example.

Residents can either browse From the Earth’s menu of products and place an order through Horizons, or they can take a trip to the dispensary and buy it themselves.

“They’ve started to do weekly and biweekly excursions where they bus the seniors to our store,” Moss said. “A lot of them like (doing that) because it’s the first time they’ve been to a dispensary. It’s new and different and they’re very interested.”

Debbie Lush, the community manager at Horizons, said the complex organizes a variety of health and wellness programs, including yoga, tai chi and visits from nutritionists. From the Earth approached her with the idea of meeting with residents and teaching them about cannabis, and she said that while many responded enthusiastically, it took some time for them to start placing orders.

“The first meeting was packed. I think there’s a bit of excitement, almost like they’re being bad, but they’re really not because (cannabis) is legal,” Lush said. “From a demographic that cannabis was completely illegal for, it (took) them a while to realize it’s 100% okay.”

She said she put out a box into which residents can put their order forms, so they can make their purchases anonymously if they want to.

Moss said From the Earth operates the same program with a senior community in Oxnard and is looking to expand to others.

While he was initially concerned about seniors being afraid to try cannabis, he quickly realized that their age doesn’t mean they’re automatically against it—or that they’re only interested in its medical benefits.

“One of the seniors asked a question and posed it from the standpoint of . . . ‘I think most of us here aren’t interested in the THC part, the getting high part, we’re interested in the medical side,’” Moss said. “Some 75-year-old man turned around and said, ‘Speak for yourself.’”