Former House Speaker John Boehner Joins Board of Cannabis Company

John Boehner

As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is heading for the door, his predecessor John Boehner, once a critic of marijuana legalization, is joining the board of a pot company.

Boehner will join former MA governor Bill Weld on the board of Acreage Holdings, a New York-based cannabis company that owns licences to manufacture or sell marijuana in 11 states.

"I chose to get involved because of the struggles of our country's veterans and the opioid epidemic, after learning how descheduling the drug can potentially help with both crises", said Boehner, now 68.

"I made a decision to get involved because of the struggles of our country's veterans and the opioid epidemic, after learning how descheduling the drug can potentially help with both crises", the 68-year-old said.

It is unlikely that Boehner will be getting rich off of his new position, and he remains on the board of tobacco company Reynolds American Inc.

After nine years of saying he was "unalterably opposed" to legalizing marijuana, he's changed his mind. Bill Weld will also join the board.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. It's been legalized for medical uses in more than two dozen states. In a joint statement, Boehner and Weld said "the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy", and that veterans should have the right to "to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain, and other ailments". Weld has always subscribed to a libertarian philosophy that includes legalization. "This will permit research and testing from federally funded institutions and allow the VA to use it as a treatment option", he said.

Boehner has not seemed entirely comfortable with retirement but joining Acreage Holdings came as a surprise to many. Nevertheless, Boehner's announcement and full-throated endorsement of legalization caused significant buzz in the industry.

'During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy, ' the two former politicians pointed out.

Murphy said in a statement Wednesday that Boehner and Weld "have shaped the political course of our country for decades and now they will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry".

Descheduling cannabis would not legalize it nationally, but it would end federal marijuana enforcement and allow states to set their own marijuana policies without federal interference.

Before taking on the job of growing, distributing and retailing marijuana, Boehner was Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful people in national politics.

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