John Boehner Has 'Evolved' On Marijuana Legalization Issues & Is Now Advocating For More Research On The Drug

In an attempt to roll back federal regulations on marijuana laws, former Republican speaker of the House, John A. Boehner has joined a board of directors for Acreage Holdings, a cannabis company, according to The Washington Post.

Boehner, a long time advocate and member of a party who favors strict rules against the legalization of the drug, has since come forward with new ideas on how marijuana can actually be a positive force for change.

He said, “I have concluded descheduling the drug is needed so that we can do research and allow [the Department of Veterans Affairs] to offer it as a treatment option in the fight against the opioid epidemic that is ravaging our communities.”

This statement is in stark contrast to his 2011 remarks about how the legalization of the drug would lead to higher abuse rate for all substances, including alcohol. The growing epidemic of opioid abuse has become a national issue and President Donald Trump has even declared it a public health issue — but with little to no solutions currently available, marijuana is reportedly proving to provide relief. 

Acreage Holdings currently grows, processes and distributes marijuana and is hoping to, “expand their research initiatives among universities as it seeks to “demystify” cannabis,” according to The Washington Post.

Through these research initiatives and findings, Acreage Holdings and Boehner are hoping to show that marijuana can be an “exit drug” for opioid addicts and provide an alternative option for treatment. In a press release, Boehner expressed his concern and hope to remove marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug classification, that includes heroin and ecstasy and focus on the medical benefits and relief it can provide. 

Critics have argued that Boehner is late to the game in advocating for the drug, but regardless of the timing, Boehner's new position is an interesting case of how hard-line opinions on different issues can evolve.