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John Boehner Joins Cannabis Company’s Advisory Board

April 11, 2018
john-boehner-acreage-cannabisFormer House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
John Boehner, the Republican former speaker of the US House of Representatives, announced early Wednesday that he has joined the board of directors of Acreage Holdings, a multi-state cannabis company with holdings in both adult-use and medical states.

Acreage announced that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has also joined the firm’s board.

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Boehner’s about-face on cannabis legalization—to which he said he was “unalterably opposed” during his political career—came about because “my thinking on cannabis has evolved,” he said in a tweet earlier this morning. “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.”

Weld’s agreement to join the company is a coup for Acreage, but perhaps less surprising. Weld has always subscribed to a libertarian philosophy that includes legalization. In fact, he ran on the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket in 2016, as the vice-presidential nominee alongside presidential nominee Gary Johnson, who was himself a former executive in the cannabis industry.

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Today’s announcement marks Boehner as the highest-ranking Republican to both embrace legalization and join the industry. Other members of the party, such as US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Sen. Rand Paul, have advocated for the legalization of cannabis for years. Boehner, by contrast, remained a staunch prohibitionist during his time in office.

Boehner and Weld issued this joint statement via Acreage Holdings earlier today:

While we come at this issue from different perspectives and track records, we both believe the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy. Over the past 20 years a growing number of states have experimented with their right to offer cannabis programs under the protection of the 10th amendment. During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. Also, during this period, the public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94% of Americans currently in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana’s many medical applications.

We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis. 

While the Tenth Amendment has allowed much to occur at the state level, there are still many negative implications of the Federal policy to schedule cannabis as a Class 1 drug: most notably the lack of research, the ambiguity around financial services and the refusal of the VA to offer it as an alternative to the harmful opioids that are ravishing our communities. 

We are excited to join the team at Acreage in pursuit of their mission to bring safe, consistent and reliable products to patients and consumers who could benefit. We have full confidence in their management team and believe this is the team that will transform the debate, policy and landscape around this issue.

Acreage Founder and CEO Kevin Murphy said, “The addition of Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld to our Board will lead to even greater access for patients by changing the conversation overnight. These men have shaped the political course of our country for decades and now they will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry.”

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.

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  • oldtimer

    I have to confess all these former naysayers against marijuana legalization are pissing me off.
    I’ve read reports here in Leafly that retired cops, one even a former police chief,
    are now getting involved in the cannabis industry.
    While it is positive, that these individuals have ‘seen the light’ and are now supporters,
    I have to wonder about their integrity.
    When prohibition was solidly in effect, they were out there busting people for
    small amounts in their possession; destroying countless numbers of lives in the process.
    Now, they jump on board to personally profit.
    We used to call people who did this “political whores”!
    Maybe people like Boehner can now convince their political colleagues to do whatever is required
    to ‘de-schedule’ cannabis.
    That would be a partial payment for all the pain they caused.

  • Fester

    Such BS…So after a career of being opposed to legalization and sucking up to prohibition lobbyist all while guzzling wine and chain smoking cigarettes boehner now finds that he’s no longer getting paid to spread refer madness so he’ll take the legalization movements money. I’ve seen the light. Wake up Cannabis movement, stop buying retired politicians, they’re useless. Those getting rich in the cannabis movement need to pool their money and start buying current politicians, all you have to do is out bid the prohibitionists.

  • Highway 69

    I don’t know…

    I think it’s likely he evolved, as he is quoted as saying. I know I have on many things…
    Those of us who transform usually are excellent advocates. To discount those who have come over from the “other side”, or treat those who were once opponents as suspect is normal, but we should remember how what we may have once held as sacred — now may seem not as relevant in our lives.

    I say, “Way to go! and Welcome to our side!”

  • Greg Morelli

    John Boehner “evolved?” On weed? Gimme a break!

    There was no evolution. It’s the same thing with Gay Marriage. How can you not know? Only a child doesn’t know. John Boehner was playing games. It’s sick!

    420,000 people went to jail on his watch. Now he wants to be a drug dealer but without the consequence. You might be surprised to hear this…

    I’m all for it.

    Lazy people should be allowed to cut loose. Ambitious people should be allowed to profit. But members of Congress who stepped on people need to lift them up.

    Listen.

    John Boehner’s dad had a bar. He sold booze, which is far more dangerous than weed. If his spoiled son wants to do something meaningful in the realm of legal weed, there needs to be a component of employment for non-violent drug offenders.

  • @x

    What’s even more stranger is that Acreage Holdings thought this was a good move.
    I suggest going to acreage holdings page and find out what they own in your State and if its possible avoid them