By Steve Elliott
There's a new factor playing a big role when seniors choose retirement locales these days: marijuana laws.
With 23 states and the District of Columbia having legalized medical marijuana, and four states plus D.C. legalizing the herb for recreational purposes, it's starting to have a real impact on such choices, reports Chris Taylor at Reuters.
Since retirees don't have to check off a box on a form saying why they chose a particular location for their sunset years, figuring our how many people are retiring to legal states is challenging. But "there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana," according to Michael Stoll, professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies retiree migration trends.
Stoll cites data from United Van Lines, which show the top U.S. moving destination last year was Oregon, where marijuana had been expected to be legalized for years and finally passed a ballot initiative last November.
Two-thirds of moves involving Oregon were inbound, a 5 percent jump over the previous year, as the state "continues to pull away from the pack," United Van Lines said in a report.