John Boehner joins marijuana group, says he has ‘evolved’

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner has joined the board of Acreage Holdings, which calls itself one of the “nation’s largest, multi-state actively–managed cannabis corporations.”

In a tweet sent early Wednesday, Boehner, a West Chester Republican who served as speaker from 2011 through 2015, said his “thinking on cannabis has evolved.”

Boehner, in an interview Wednesday, said he never seriously thought about the issue until he was approached, and realized that, like a lot of Americans he was “taking a different view of this” than he might have five or 10 years ago. “I decided to basically add my voice to this debate,” he said, adding it could be “an interesting discussion.”

“There are all these anecdotal stories about the use of cannabis for medical issues and what kind of bothers me is that because it’s a Schedule 1 narcotic, no university does any real research on this. I think the medical uses of this plant could be enormous and certainly would be helpful.”

He said the VA also cannot do research on medicinal uses of marijuana, and that the drug could be helpful for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and chronic pain. “It could be a whole lot safer than opioids,” he said.

Acreage Holdings also named former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a libertarian, to their board. In joint statement, Boehner and Weld said “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.”

Acreage Founder and CEO Kevin Murphy said the addition of Boehner and Weld to the 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,” he said.

The company, headquartered in New York City and currently operating in 11 states, owns cultivation, processing and dispensary operations and claims to be among the largest cannabis companies in the United States.

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