At a recent meeting, the Berkeley City Council agreed to move forward with six different proposals vying to become Berkeley’s fourth medical marijuana dispensary. Among the proposals is a dispensary to be owned and operated by a senior, African-American woman—significant in an industry dominated by young, white men.
Meet Sue Taylor. She’s a retired Catholic school principal and former senior outreach director at the Harborside Health Center, and Taylor is authorized by the State of California to teach the state’s medical cannabis program to nursing home directors and staff.
Seniors are an important demographic considering that every day ten thousand Americans turn 65 and have become the crucial swing vote for pot legalization. Unfortunately, pot legalization proponents don’t seem to be paying much attention to this sector of the population.
Taylor was encouraged by her son to examine the benefits of medical marijuana, especially for seniors. Her son showed her stacks of research on cannabis and introduced her to professionals in the cannabis industry, including scientists, advocates and dispensary workers. She learned that no one has ever died from cannabis ingestion or overdose. She was convinced.
“The more I learned, I found out: Seniors are in such bad health; they’re kind of miserable,” she told Alternet. “When they develop medical problems, they’re prescribed all these pharmaceuticals, which really knock them out, and they are left to die. So, my job and my compassion is to help them realize who they really are, and that it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Taylor began to give lectures to seniors.
“They resonate with me right away—number one, because I am a senior, and number two, I tell them you don’t have to smoke it and the high is gone, and they become very interested,” she said in a podcast interview with The Hash.
Now, it’s a question of access… hence the need for a senior-focused dispensary.
The city of Berkeley will continue to hold public hearings for the next several months, so stay tuned.