By Steve Moran
Kandi Short, who is the traffic manager for Senior Housing Forum, sent me a link to a story on Reddit about senior living residents who use pot. I did a tiny bit of digging and discovered that this community is operated by Village Concepts, Inc out of the Seattle area. That was awesome because Tracy Willis, who is their director of corporate development, is the daughter of one of my best friends from a long time ago.
This, of course, gave me permission to reach out to her at 7:30 in the evening about this video.
Tracy has been doing some amazing work at Village Concepts with respect to resident engagement. This adventure into legal pot is an extension of that initiative.
Let's start with the video. You will immediately notice it has a glaring error. The community is not a nursing home, it is an independent and assisted living community. My favorite quote from the video is this:
“We’ve been smoking weed the WHOLE TIME, we just weren’t dumb enough to tell anybody we didn’t know.”
Once marijuana became legal in Washington State, some of the residents were curious about the stores and wanted to know if, beyond recreational use, there might be some medicinal benefits. They set up a kind of lunch-and-learn at one of the stores where residents could go in, ask questions and make purchases.
Not everyone makes purchases and most who do purchase topicals (creams and gels). And no, you won’t get high using the topicals (I didn’t know, so had to ask).
I had some questions:
Did it help or hurt marketing or sales?
Were there any negative reactions?
How many communities are they doing this with?
What is the overall impact?
They have three communities that are regularly doing field trips to the local legal marijuana stores. The residents who go obviously are supportive and those who don’t go either don’t care or are amused. There was one family member that was not happy; however, their resident was. They also had one resident who specifically moved in because she needed a community that would allow her to use pot for medical reasons.
Perhaps most important is that the residents feel like they are still involved in living life; that it is a cool thing to do. They all lived through the hippie era -- likely some imbibed then, while others may have been too afraid to try it at the time, yet always wanted to.
What are your thoughts about pot in your communities?