The U.S. pot industry panicked early this year when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the federal government’s hands-off policy on weed.
But now it can breathe a sign of relief as John Boehner, the Republican former Speaker of the House, has done a public 180 on pot. And that he is a respected member of the GOP adds value to his message.
I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. 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. @AcreageCannabis https://t.co/f5i9KcQD0W
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 11, 2018
This is a far cry from just a few years ago when in 2011, Boehner said he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization.
While the announcement may be viewed by some as a sign that the cannabis industry in the U.S. is becoming a big enough business that can afford to recruit prominent names from the world of politics, Boehner has cast it as an honest change of heart.
The unexpected new ally was joined by former Massachusetts governor, William F. Weld, who also joined the Acreage Holdings board, in saying that “the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy.”
“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,” Boehner wrote on Twitter.
“It is difficult to overstate the impact of this monumental event for the U.S. cannabis sector,” wrote Vahan Ajamian, analyst at Beacon Securities Ltd., in a note Wednesday.
The announcement that Boehner and Weld will advise Acreage, a company that cultivates, processes, and dispenses cannabis in 11 states, “should send shockwaves throughout the industry and act as a positive catalyst for the sector as a whole,” Ajamian said.
“The fact that a former speaker of the House, a Republican nonetheless, has joined the board of a cannabis company says volumes about how far we’ve come as an industry,” said Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen, a cannabis company based in Los Angeles. “It shows that we’re on the right side of this issue, and that the momentum is building for the eventual end of the federal prohibition.”