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lifelong pot smoker Evan KeliherGrandpa Ganja: 70 and Still Smoking

by Sarah Sabalos LaSpaluto

Evan Keliher isn’t your stereotypical pot smoker. He’s never been arrested, doesn’t smell of patchouli and apparently suffers no lack of motivation. The 70-year-old Marine veteran of the Korean War taught school for 30 years, earned a doctorate in education and has authored a dozen books. His stage play, Sandwiched Light, will be performed at La Mesa’s Lamplighter Theatre in May.

Keliher’s only problem—a case of glaucoma that began in his 20s—has made him a vocal proponent of medicinal marijuana. His book, Grandpa’s Marijuana Handbook: A User Guide for Ages 50 and Up, challenges the established case against pot, calling it beneficial to ill and healthy people alike. Lists of facts and fallacies notwithstanding, the book is often remarkably funny and accessible.

“My purpose was to let people know, for once, the truth about something,” says Keliher. “Marijuana is not a harmful substance. It does work as medicine for many people. There’s just no reason for it to be illegal, and really no reason for anyone to be in jail over it.”

Keliher, who’s been an almost-daily user since 1967, opines that the government has a vested interest in its war on drugs. “The politicians use it for political reasons, and people make money from it,” he says. “They’ve had this drug war for years, and they never win, and it never changes... I just want
to educate people, especially old-timers. Marijuana works for so many people that seniors all over the country could benefit from it.”

And as the book points out, marijuana is 100 percent fat-free.
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