War on Drugs

Sick Seniors Find Obtaining Medical Marijuana a Challenge

Administrators in nursing homes or living facilities worry about legal issues


Margo Bauer was desperate. Dealing with chronic nausea and frequent bouts of vomiting—both attributed to her multiple sclerosis—the retired nurse was constantly exhausted and in pain. That was, until she attended an informational meeting where she was introduced to medical marijuana.

Under California's Medical Marijuana Program, she received a medical marijuana card and now legally grows her own plant at a Southern California assisted living facility where she lives with her husband who suffers from Alzheimer's. She smokes a rolled joint once every six months, which she says keeps her nausea at bay, and her pain lifted to the point that she joined an all-female synchronized swimming team called the Aquadettes.

Bauer, now 75, has also become an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana use among seniors and was instrumental in starting a collective at her assisted living facility.