If the federal government decides to crackdown and enforce laws prohibiting marijuana, even in states where it is legal, it could have a negative impact on a group of people that are not often associated with the drug: the elderly.
If you were asked to form a mental image of a marijuana user, it is likely they you would think of a younger person. You might even think of a disheveled young man with long hair and a tie-die shirt. That is the stereotypical marijuana user in the common imagination.
However, 29 states have now legalized marijuana for medical purposes. That has led to it increasingly being used by an entirely different demographic group. Elderly people are using the drug to treat their own ailments, since it has been proven to help relieve minor aches and pains as well as mental conditions such as depression and anxiety, which can sometimes come with retirement and life in nursing homes.
The New York Times reported on this is "When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis."
This presents an interesting question about enforcement of federal prohibitions on marijuana use.
Under the Obama administration, the federal government was mostly hands-off and did not make much effort to enforce federal laws in states that had legalized the drug. However, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long been opposed to marijuana legalization. He has recently suggested that, under his leadership, the federal government might start enforcing the laws again.
Elder law attorneys in states that allow medical marijuana might have a new issue to deal with on their hands: what to do about their clients who do use the drug, and who might get caught up in a federal law violation.
Reference: New York Times (Feb. 19, 2017) "When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis."