John Boehner Joins Marijuana Firm: 'My Thinking on Cannabis Has Evolved'

Boehner, who served as an OH congressman from 1991 to 2015 and is noted for his cigarette smoking, announced on Twitter this morning that he has joined the board of advisors of a national cannabis company.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, or NORML, repeatedly rated Boehner as an "anti-legalization" politician. Even as recently as 2015, Boehner reiterated his opposition to the legalization of "marijuana or other FDA Schedule I drugs". The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to struggle with treatment options for post-traumatic stress and other mental health conditions.

For years, Boehner, the son of a bar owner, railed against any type of cannabis legislation.

Actor Jeffrey Wright tweeted a picture of a confused looking dog with the caption: "All the brahs in prison on weed charges hearing former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner's first public remarks on behalf of the marijuana industry". "The addition of Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld to our Board will lead to even greater access for patients by changing the conversation overnight", said Murphy. "I'm convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities".

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Boehner said he began to shift his opinion after seeing marijuana help a close friend deal with back pain.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, 72, will join Boehner on the advisory board of Acreage, which holds 35 licenses for cannabis businesses in the U.S. Boehner, first elected in 1990 to the House from southwest OH, was speaker from 2011 to 2015, when he resigned amid problems with an increasingly fractious Republican caucus. As governor, Weld advocated for medical marijuana legalization since 1992.

Both Boehner and Weld have agreed to immediately join the company's board of advisors and have committed to join the company's board of directors once it has been formed and other qualified directors have been appointed. Lawmakers supporting legalization say the potential tax revenue stream is considerable since it's estimated that New Yorkers spend $3 billion a year on marijuana.

Marijuana is still classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I substance - meaning it's considered more risky than cocaine (Schedule II) or ketamine (Schedule III).

Nixon said if there was more "political courage" in Albany, the drug already would be legal.

Weld, a former Republican who signed on as libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's running mate in 2016, backed medical marijuana when he was governor of MA from 1991 to 1997.

The pot industry panicked when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the government's hands-off policy on weed. Federal law enforcement lacks the resources, he said last month, to pursue "routine cases".

Nixon said 80 percent of the New Yorkers arrested for marijuana are black or Latino, despite the fact that whites and people of color use marijuana at roughly the same rates.

  • Joey Payne