Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Boehner reverses on marijuana, announces he's joining cannabis company

Boehner reverses on marijuana, announces he's joining cannabis company

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says his views on marijuana policy have evolved, and now he's taking a job in the booming cannabis industry. "Public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94 percent of Americans now in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana's many medical applications". "I find myself in that same position". The Trump administration sent shockwaves through the industry earlier this year by threatening to end the federal government's laissez-faire approach to prosecuting cannabis charges, so the appearance of Boehner on the other side of the fence is a major political victory.

The statement was no surprise in the case of Mr. Weld, a supporter of legalization who ran on the Libertarian Party's ticket in 2016 with Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor.

The politicians are a sign of a watershed moment for the industry, according to Vahan Ajamian, an analyst at Beacon Securities Ltd.

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"It is hard to overstate the impact of this monumental event for the US cannabis sector", Vahan Ajamian, analyst at Beacon Securities Ltd., wrote in a note Wednesday. Bill Weld will also join the board.

The former police chief and politician who once compared legalizing weed to legalizing murder is defending his decision to open a company connects patients with medical marijuana.

Marijuana is still classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I substance - meaning it's considered more unsafe than cocaine (Schedule II) or ketamine (Schedule III). While marijuana is illegal at the federal level, most states have legalized pot in some form. "I was a little bit ahead of the field there", he said.

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"It would've been more helpful for him advocating for this 10 years ago", he said. "Luckily for all of us, the Reagan era drug warrior platform is dying." - Erik Knutson, CEO of Keef Brands, a manufacturer of cannabis-infused products Keef Cola, Keef Sparking Water, Oil Stix and Vitacanna.

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. Plus he's been studying the problems of the USA criminal justice system for years.

New York-based Acreage, which has cannabis operations in 11 states, said Boehner and Weld will serve on its board of directors when that is formed. "We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there". During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. "But that shouldn't be dictated by the nanny state in Washington". Acreage describes themselves as "one of the nation's largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations".

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"Paul Ryan has done an extraordinary job leading the House through turbulent waters at a time when the political discourse in America is changing", Boehner said in a statement.

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