Reefer Roadshow Lobbies Seniors Over 65 to Support Medical Marijuana
The Silver Tour is making the rounds across the state of Florida with one goal in mind: to convert senior citizens to support the legalization of medical marijuana. The group targets 65-and-older communities and churches in order to get out their message that marijuana has scientific evidence backing its use for chronic pain conditions as well as insomnia. The Silver Tour gets its funding from small donors and provides a lineup of speakers that includes advocates along with a doctor and a patient who present their cases for the medicinal use of pot.
Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is no longer considered a fringe idea. In fact, 17 states have passed laws allowing the drug to be used for medical reasons and six states this year have debated full legalization bills. A study backed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy back in 1999 found marijuana helps with the following issues:
- Pain reduction
- Increasing appetite
- Decreasing nausea
Why Are Seniors Being Recruited to Support Medicinal Marijuana?
There are both practical and political motivations for the Silver Tour to target the 65 and older crowd. Seniors can influence public opinion through poll results, as they are a huge proportion of the people who generally take part in them. Marijuana legalization supporters and advocates feel the senior population is the reason the California legislation did not pass. The Silver Tour feels that seniors hold so much voting power that they could singlehandedly turn the tide for the movement.
In addition, seniors suffer more than any other age group from chronic pain and sleep issues. The Silver Tour understands their audience and knows that if they can present their points convincingly, those who are 65 and older may support their cause in droves.
Seniors Often Have a Positive Response to the Silver Tour
According to heads of the tour, getting seniors in the door to listen to their presentation is the hardest part of their job. Once in the audience, presenters feel scientific fact and compassion are on their side. However, in order to be able to make their plea to the senior population they admit to the tactic of offering a free buffet to peak their interest.
The strategy, perhaps because it is one-sided, appears to be working, as seniors often leave the presentation with a different attitude. Most go in thinking that marijuana is a gateway drug and has no possibility for beneficial use. Many come out believing that the drug can help people who are suffering from a variety of medical conditions. For example 85-year-old Evy Shareff, stated, “Hearing this tonight made me feel I have an obligation to be much more supportive. It is wrong to keep this from people who are benefiting without any crime, killing, or hurt to anybody.”
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