Sunday, September 23, 2018
Marijuana is not just popular for the "young people" anymore. In Orange County, California, the Bud & Bloom dispensary in Santa Ana has partnered with a bus company to allow senior citizens easier access to dispensaries, according to an article by Stephanie O'Neill for NPR's Morning Edition. The bus drives the patrons thirty minutes from the Laguna Woods Village retirement community to the nearest Bud and Bloom location.
Though the idea of reliving Woodstock in retirement communities may be an entertaining one, the article notes that many senior citizens are visiting the dispensary to learn about the pain relieving properties of marijuana and "fear of getting high is the biggest concern expressed by senior consumers . . . What they don't realize is there's so many different ways to medicate now that you don't have to actually get high to relieve all your aches and pains."
Bud and Bloom tries to bridge the education gap by providing food and drinks to the elderly customers as the dispensaries' community outreach advisor gives a presentation on the "potential benefits of cannabis as a reliever of anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain and the various ways people can consume it. . . Then, the seniors are invited into the dispensary where they're able to buy."
The "Canna-bus" may be a response to a growing problem Caitlin Morgan Insurance recognized June of last year regarding nursing home and retirement community liability for marijuana. The article notes,
Marijuana . . . is banned by federal law even while legally approved for medical use in 29 states . . . This presents senior living facilities with the need to address what some call the elephant in the room: safety and accessibility. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, older people who stand to benefit often cannot get it. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities do not openly sanction its use, and many physicians are reluctant to endorse pot use, saying not enough is known about the risks in the oldest age groups.
Though research on how marijuana effects specific age groups is still scarce, "Some assisted living facilities have developed formal medical marijuana policies in response to demands from their residents. The Washington Health Care Association, an industry group, has posted a sample medical marijuana policy on its website, for example."
The article notes that "This is an issue that all facilities should weigh carefully, including any liability they may have as a result of marijuana use by their patients or residents."