Look Which Staunch Marijuana Opponent Has Changed His Tune For $$$

Marijuana has an unexpected new advocate: former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

On Wednesday, Boehner announced to the world that he joined the board for Acreage Holdings, a company that grows and sells legal cannabis in nearly a dozen states.

“My thinking on cannabis has evolved,” Boehner tweeted.

“Evolved” is an understatement. While in office, Boehner referred to himself as being “unalterably opposed” to legalizing marijuana. NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, gave Boehner a score of 0 percent on issues pertaining to weed legalization.

So why the turn around? Money. Where there are drugs, there’s money, and that’s especially true in an emerging industry – well, the legal sector, anyway.

Newsweek spoke to an expert who expects that since Boehner’s place on the board will add a lot of value to the company, he would be eligible for some of the equity once Acreage Holdings goes public. That would mean a huge payday.

Of course, Boehner doesn’t attribute his change in perspective to that. He says it was seeing how medical marijuana can ease the pain of veterans that changed his mind. He also swears he’s still never tried the substance.

In fairness to Boehner, he’s not the only Republican who has changed his mind on this issue in recent years. While the divide on this issue used to be more pronounced along partisan lines, a majority of Republicans finally support legalization. Perhaps the bigger question is why haven’t more conservative politicians changed their stances to align with their constituents’ views?

That’s not to say that some GOP legislators haven’t already done so. In states with a pot market, cannabis money is increasingly being donated to conservative candidates and super PACs. You’d be surprised (okay, probably not) how much lawmakers will start reciprocally backing an industry once they have that financial support.

The current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems especially resolute when it comes to maintaining existing marijuana laws, but with the way things are going, who’s to say how much longer he’ll have that job for? Boehner’s previous status could put him in a powerful position to advocate for loosening marijuana down the road, which, yeah, could coincidentally make him a lot of money in the process.

It’s common to see former lawmakers transition into lobbying for the private sector to cash in on their connections and influence. Boehner is not doing anything that we haven’t seen other retired congressional representatives do hundreds of times before.

Nevertheless, it feels like an extra slap in the face to the primarily black communities that have been incarcerated over the very substance Boehner has decided is not so harmful after all. As a leading lawmaker, he had the ability to help decriminalize marijuana, but instead he maintained the status quo of destroying millions of lives and tearing up families over simple possession charges.

It’s awfully convenient for him to change his tune on weed now that wealthy white people stand to profit from it. I suspect there are a lot of us who will support any efforts to legalize marijuana because it will benefit a lot of people, but don’t think that we don’t completely see through you, Mr. Boehner.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

60 comments

Elaine W
Elaine W5 months ago

Noted.

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Brian F
Brian F5 months ago

John Boehner is a dirty liar, like all Republicans, and corporate Democrats who will do anything for money. Boehner reminds me of that dirty liar Nancy Pelosi who refuses to support Medicare for all, because she is a crook like the Republicans. Money is the only thing these scumbag politicians from both parties care about.

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Colin C
Colin C5 months ago

My thinking has Evolved sounds a lot better than I was completely Wrong for years.

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Richard A
Richard A5 months ago

John Boehner is a mercenary at heart; Naught but a whore for the money.

Anyone recall John Boehner handing out checks on the floor of the House?

Checks were given by the tobacco lobbyists as bribes so that the U.S. Representatives would vote to retain a yearly $49 million giveaway of taxpayer money to tobacco companies.

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Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Money can buy almost anything or anyone.

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Fiona O
Fiona O5 months ago

Greed, Greed, Greed.

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Winn A
Winn A5 months ago

Noted

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Christine Stewart
Christine Stewart5 months ago

money talks.....

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Leo Custer
Leo C5 months ago

thank you for posting!

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sharon b
sharon b5 months ago

Hypocrites. But still it helps us.

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