Baby Boomer Bongers

Maysoon El-Ahmad on Jul 19, 2019


The recent wave of legalised marijuana in countries around the world is seeing a shift in the demographic users from the stereo-types of risk-taking youth to silver Baby Boomers. Many of these consumers came of age when sentiment towards marijuana first began to shift in the 1960s and therefore are entering their golden years with a more liberal view than those of previous generations.

This trend is taking shape across many countries in the industrialised world:

  • In the UK, according to a survey commissioned by the National Health Service, lifetime use of cannabis in the 65-74 age group increased more than sevenfold between 2000 and 2014.
  • In our own market, a 2016 Flinders University study found that cannabis use among Australians over 50 more than doubled, from 1.6% to 3.5% between 2003 and 2014.
  • A study conducted by New York University found that the percentage of American adults 50-64 who report using marijuana doubled between 2007 and 2016 – an all-time high, while seven times as many adults 65 and older reported using cannabis over the same time frame.
  • As recently as the early 2000s, American teens were more than 4x more likely to use marijuana than 50- and 60-somethings. As of 2017, Americans 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke ‘pot’ on a monthly basis than teens 12 to 17. Those aged 65+ have gone from 0% in the mid-2000s to 2.4% using marijuana monthly and 4% using it a least once a year.

So what’s driving this growing trend? Two key factors:

  1. Baby Boomers are a generation who grew up at the peak of the hippie counter culture. Many of those legislating for the legalisation of the drug are likely to belong to the Baby Boomer cohort and are therefore playing an influential role in the current and future legal environment of cannabis.
  2. The eldest of the Baby Boomers are now in their mid-70s with many facing aged related health issues such as arthritis – many are turning to cannabis as an alternative to the addictive pain killers such as Opioids to help relieve pain and manage chronic health issues.


  • With the growing concerns around the Opioid epidemic, increasing misuse of painkillers, along with an aging population and the relaxation of cannabis usage, we predict that cannabis use in older people will only grow in the coming years.
  • This, however, may come with negative implications as use of cannabis may lead to increased injuries and falls from dizziness among the elderly who seek out the drug to manage their pain into their more frail years.
  • We also predict the revival of Woodstock music festivals run by and tailored to over 65s – re-engineering the exact strain of the drug of the 1960s, but this time with fall/slip resistant flooring!
Growth Mantra
Right Menu Icon