How one retirement community is coming out of the cannabis closet.
They are former biologists, engineers, therapists. They grew up under the influence of Richard Nixon and “Reefer Madness.” Some of them experimented with pot in their 20s. Others came upon cannabis much later, in their 50s. Today they have two things in common: They all live in a gated senior community called Rossmoor. And they all consume cannabis.
Rossmoor, just a few miles outside of Oakland – the capital of California’s legal marijuana market – is situated on 1,800 sprawling acres with meticulously landscaped grounds, pristine gardens, wandering creeks and flowing fountains. Named by U.S. News and World Report as “one of America’s best healthy places to retire,” it has all the trappings of a luxury retirement villa: two golf courses, three swimming pools and over 200 clubs, from ceramics, sewing and lapidary, to bridge, tap dance and cocktail affairs. And five years ago, the Rossmoor 420 Club was added to that list.
“We are not experts,” says Renee Lee, 64, the club’s president. “But I think the people that have been in the group for the last three or four years are more informed than most doctors. We really know what’s going on. You can’t get too much past us.”
Throughout the meeting countless stories could be overheard about how cannabis has helped cure the aches and pains of aging. The plant has so successfully treated Lee’s ailments that in 2012 she was able to quit cannabis, and now consumes it only occasionally.
“I like to smoke when I’m watching football or when I’m doing art, like ceramics,” she said. But she’s considering taking it up again – “to prevent Alzheimer’s.”