If you've been worried about your folks finding out exactly how much you enjoy cannabis, you might just be paranoid. According to a recent study, parents and even grandparents are toking up at a greater rate than ever before—or at least they're finally admitting to doing so.
Per SFGate, medical journal Addiction reports that researchers with the Alcohol Research Group—which is a real thing and not a name for what you and your friends do on the weekends—studied medical survey data over a 30-year period. They focused on adults who admitted to cannabis use over the prior 12 months. They found that in 1984, only one half of one percent of respondents between ages 50 and 59 were willing to admit they had partaken of the devil's kale. But by 2015, that number had jumped to 12 percent. For those 60 and over, in 1984 they were admitting usage at less than one half of one percent, but by 2015 that had jumped to seven percent.
These numbers mark an expected generational shift as more baby boomers start carrying AARP cards, and SFGate states that the figures are also consistent with a report CBS news did in 2016, which concluded that those 55 and over are the fastest-growing segment of the cannabis-buying public. (Interestingly, those between the ages of 18 and 29 in 1984 had an cannabis usage rate of 29.9 percent, which slightly decreased to 29.2 percent in 2015.)
The degree to which dispensaries and producers are positioning their products and storefronts to serve this growing older segment of the market largely remains to be seen. In Oregon, I rarely see anyone over the age of 30 working as a budtender, although many dispensaries do offer "senior discounts." But in light of how many prescription medications can be reduced or eliminated with cannabis, the industry may be missing out on a potentially large market share by not targeting their efforts to that segment of the population.