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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Marijuana use among older people growing

As laws are relaxing around marijuana, both for recreational and medical use, around the country, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some interesting findings regarding just who is using the drug. In many households, the parents are more likely to be lighting up than their kids.

Marijuana use by those in their mid-thirties and older is increasing, while use by teens is dropping. Use among baby boomers is particularly growing. The study found that as marijuana use has dropped by 10 percent by those in the 12-to-17-year-old age range since 2002:

-- It rose by 50 percent among 45- to 54-year-olds.

-- It skyrocketed 455 percent among people 55 to 64 years old.

-- It grew by a whopping 333 percent among those over 65.

While the percentage of young people using marijuana is still lower than it is for people in their parents' and grandparents' generations, the rates of increase are certainly worth noting.

The report did not differentiate between the use of marijuana for recreational versus medicinal purposes, or whether the increased use correlated to states where the drug is legal. However, there are various reasons cited and speculated about for the increase in use by older adults. These include:

-- Increased legalization, particularly of medical marijuana

-- More free time to indulge in the drug

-- More disposable income

-- Pain relief

Currently, Florida has a very restrictive medical marijuana program. It's legal only to treat a limited number of conditions. However, an amendment on the November ballot, if passed, would help make medical marijuana available to more people.

Older people using marijuana for the first time in their lives may not exercise the same caution about possessing it in public or in their vehicles as some younger people. Even in states where it's legal for recreational use, there are considerable legal restrictions on where you can possess marijuana and how much you can have. It's essential to understand the marijuana laws not just here in Florida, but wherever you may be traveling.

Source: Huffington Post, "Parents Are Turning To Marijuana More Than Teens, Study Suggests," Yagana Shah, Sep. 06, 2016

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