Article was originally published on WSBT 22 by DJ Manou, WSBT 22 Reporter |

Marijuana dispensaries in Michigan are seeing more people turning to the drug for medical reasons. A study shows more senior citizens are giving it a try.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, back in 2006 only .4 percent of seniors said they used marijuana in the past year. By 2018, it jumped to more than four percent.

With recreational marijuana legal now, dispensaries say that number will grow even more. Business is booming, and it’s in part because of boomers.

“About 52 to 54% of our clientele are baby boomers and above,” said Mark Smith.

Mark Smith owns The Green Door in Bangor. He’s sold medical marijuana since 2017 and says everyday he sees more elderly customers coming in.

“Well, we hurt the most,” said Smith. “But I think more and more people are looking at an alternative medicine from drugs.”

The benefits are widespread. James Jessick was buying some for his wife who has arthritis.

“It’s so bad, her fingers are hooked. She uses it she can use her hands freely. So, it’s a benefit,” said Jessick.

Tim Sturgis is getting some to help him walk.

“I was paralyzed two years ago from the waist down,” said Sturgis. “It really helps with pain and anxiety.”

Smith says he hears stories daily about seniors turning to marijuana instead of pills.

“We had two ladies in here today who hadn’t used in years. Unfortunately, the one lady was diagnosed with cancer and they were in here looking for some answers and alternative medicine,” said Smith.

Growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s, Smith says some seniors are no strangers to marijuana.

“A lot of the people in our age group had done it before and knew what the experience was,” said Smith. “Now they are using it as a maintenance medicine to help them with their pains and aches. Like my grandma always said it isn’t easy getting old.”

They’re happy they can use it for medical purposes without the fear of legal issues.

“I’m wondering why it took so long, I really am,” said Jessick. “There’s a great benefit for people. You’ll find that more and more people are going to start using it.”

Jessick says he’s talked with a lot of friends his age who are looking to start using to help with their own problems.

Smith fully expects more to try it. But he does say compared to the 60’s, the marijuana is much stronger, so he advises anyone trying the first time in decades to take it slow.