Laguna Woods Medical Cannabis Club
In Laguna Woods, a California retirement community formerly known as Leisure World, where 80% of the 16,400 residents are over 65, now has an active and highly organized medical marijuana collective. The Collective is called Laguna Woods Medical Cannabis Club.
The Collective was created to help seniors with medical conditions that are not currently helped by the hundreds of opioids and medical prescriptions prescribed by their doctors, but have not been very helpful in dealing with their medical problems.
The Collective was founded by Tony Pierce, who at the age of 62, had to stop working for the Orange County Transportation Authority, because he had chronic pain from spinal cord cancer. When Tony moved to Laguna Woods, he found the Medical Cannabis Club, who was ready to help him manage his pain. Pierce siad, “It gave me my life back,” by introducing him to medical marijuana to help ease his discomfort and wean him off opiates.
Today, there are about 400 community collective members with medical needs, like Tony, who have banded together to offer advice and suggestions to other seniors on how to have safe access to medical marijuana.
The head of the group is 70-year old Lonnie Palmer, present of the collective, and a long time pot user with long white hair, earrings and tattoos; Palmer acts as the spirit guide for cannabis patients in the community.
“We want the best quality of life that we can have,” said Barbara Ayala, 62, a resident who heads the advocacy organization OC NORML Seniors. “So cannabis is just another tool in the toolbox when you get to be our age.”