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‘Mary Kay for Marijuana:’ Home-Based Pot Parties for Seniors on the Rise

Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Remember Tupperware parties? Ask your grandmothers. Initially created to share cooking and food storage ideas, they ended up being social networks for women.

Brownie Wise, a post-war feminist and the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week in 1954, started hosting them after her husband abandoned her and their child.

Now, California seniors are getting together in much the same atmosphere in their own retirement communities. Considering their ages, some may have once hosted a Tupperware party!

Baby boomers are one of the fastest growing age groups to embrace marijuana. A recent study done by New York University found a 71 percent increase in marijuana use among adults aged 50 years and older in the last decade.

Octavia Wellness, a San Francisco-based startup, is catering to the boomer community, hosting parties and educating them about medical cannabis. Octavia specializes in oils, creams and tinctures rather than smokeable pot.

Not that the seniors don’t want to smoke and get stoned.

Per the NYU study: “There is a common misperception that widespread marijuana use is limited to younger generations. However, the Baby Boomer generation has reported higher rates of substance use than any preceding generation.”

“Given the unprecedented aging of the U.S. population, we are facing a never before seen cohort of older adults who use recreational drugs,” explained Benjamin Han, MD, MPH, a geriatrician and health services researcher at NYU Langone Medical Center.

A recent New York Times article noted a similar trend among grandmothers getting into the weed business, viewing their work as therapeutic for their customers.

“It’s definitely a trend,” said Troy Dayton, the chief executive and a co-founder of the Arcview Group, a market research firm that focuses on the cannabis industry. “A lot of women have this family recipe, or they were making a certain kind of tincture for a loved one who was suffering. Now that pot is legal, they’re like, ‘Wow, that thing you were making for Grandma could be a real product.’”

Indeed, co-founder and CEO of Octavia Wellness, Carrie Tice, started her company to help her aging mom, who suffers from anxiety caused by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

“Her doctors couldn’t help us aside from writing her a medical cannabis recommendation,” Tice explains on the company’s website. “Dispensaries were a turn-off with too many products to choose from and not enough support. Online services proved to be equally daunting—especially around dosing and selection.”

When Tice began her own research, she often found herself in people’s homes, discussing and sharing ideas and knowledge.

“Within a year, we had created a network of people who were all being helped or were helping others gain safe access to reliable, trusted cannabis products,” she said.

The majority of Octavia’s consultants are over 60 and some live in the senior homes where they host their parties.

Since the company’s pilot program launched in 2016, according to Business Insider, Octavia Wellness has expanded from a team of three to over 50 and raised over $835,000 in a seed round of financing.

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