According to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration use among people 50 and older who report using marijuana in the prior year went up from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 2.9 percent in 2008. Marijuana use among 55- to 59-year-olds has more than tripled during that same time period (1.6 percent in 2002 to 5.1 percent in 2008).
Among the group of seniors who now use marijuana is 67 year old Perry Parks, a retired Army pilot who suffers from crippling pain from degenerative disc disease and arthritis. He has tried all sorts of prescription drugs, but found little success. However, he found relief two years ago after using something he tried in college, marijuana. He says by using marijuana he realized he “could get by without the narcotics,” referring to prescription painkillers. Parks says he is now “essentially pain free."
Will the nation’s 78 million baby boomers stand up against the status quo one last time and lead the effort to end this country’s failed war on marijuana? We sure hope so.