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Seniors Choosing Legal Pot States for Retirement

Maureen Meehan

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While precise data on how many people are retiring to legal pot states is not currently available, “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions—which medical marijuana could help treat—are relocating to states with legalized marijuana,” Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at UCLA who studies retiree migration trends, told Reuters.

Stoll also cited data from United Van Lines, showing Oregon as the top U.S. moving destination in 2014. Two-thirds of moves to Oregon last year were inbound—a five percent increase from the previous year.

The Mountain West region, including Colorado, boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, according to United Van Lines. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that pot smoking significantly increased among baby boomers in the past decade and is expected to continue to rise. It’s no wonder the pot industry is skyrocketing, after all, boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) represent close to one-quarter of the U.S. population.

After suffering a serious back injury, Chris Cooper, an investment adviser from Toledo, retired to California when powerful prescription drugs weren’t helping the pain or spasms. He liked what he saw there.

“Stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” Cooper told Reuters. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”

Dispensary workers concur.

“About half of the people coming into our shop are seniors,” Karl Keich, founder of Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, said. “It’s a place where your mother or grandmother can come in and feel safe.”

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