Crafting marijuana policies in senior housing is tricky, but it’s becoming more important with each passing year.
There’s a good chance of at least some marijuana or cannabis product use among any senior housing resident population, according to Dr. Cari Levy, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and president of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine Board of Directors.
“It has become much less stigmatized. Seniors talk to their peers, and they say, I got relief when I used this on my shoulder or my knee,” Levy said during a Senior Housing News webinar on the topic. “I would say probably 2 in 10 have used some formulation [of marijuana or cannabis products].”
As more states allow pot use, the chances of resident use will only go up. Today, 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, as has Washington, D.C. On top of that, 33 states have made medical marijuana legal.
And yet, there are many senior living providers that simply don’t know where to start. After all, marijuana use is a complex subject, and one that isn’t always talked about in the open due to its murky legal status. But, providers can’t ignore the issue for much longer.