Speaking with Acreage founder and CEO Kevin Murphy at the South by Southwest conference, ex-House Speaker John Boehner stated on Friday that he believes American politicians are failing to realize both the wishes of their constituents and the reality that cannabis is here to stay.
As noted in the CNBC article linked below, the former leading Republican stated, "It's clear this market is going to expand. And as it does, lawmakers in Washington have to look up and realize that the federal government is way out of step... It's time for the federal government to get out of the way."
Boehner, who served in Congress for over two decades, joined the board of Acreage Holdings last year. The move surprised many given that in 2011 Boehner said he was "unalterably opposed" to cannabis legalization; in 1999 he voted against legalizing medical cannabis in Washington D.C.; and in 2015 he wrote to a constituent that he didn't want to reschedule, or reclassify, cannabis as less dangerous under federal law, because he was "concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol."
In the latest Gallup poll, 66% of respondents said that they support legalizing cannabis. According to CNBC that is a record high and the third consecutive year that support for legalization has increased to record levels. Hopefully if Boehner, with his long history of being against cannabis reform, was able to come around on cannabis, perhaps other politicians will soon begin realizing not only the potential of the cannabis market as an economic force but also as an issue on which the American public has clearly stated its preference.