"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", said Boehner, now 68. But 30 states and the District of Columbia already permit medical marijuana use of some kind, and nine states and the District of Columbia also permit recreational use by adults. "We know the Acreage team to be great industry leaders and are optimistic that with their new advisory Board, Acreage can help lead the way for commonsense reform at the federal level." - David Feuerstein, Co-Founder & Partner at Feuerstein Kulick LLP, a cannabis law firm providing legal services to companies, funds, investors, and lenders in the space.
The U.S. marijuana industry has a new spokesman: John Boehner, R-Ohio. A majority - on both sides of the aisle - support the legalization of marijuana, and the numbers are rapidly growing.
Boehner said his perspective shifted after he saw the plant's efficacy in helping a close friend deal with debilitating back pain. Canada plans to legalize recreational use later this year - following California's steps to do so January 1.
Boehner says in a statement his position "has evolved" from opposition to legalizing marijuana. Beacon calls Boehner's appointment to Acreage's advisory board a "bombshell" that may help "legitimize" the sector and generate investor interest. Worldwide, legal marijuana could be a $57 billion industry by 2027, according to a report by Arcview Market Research.
Still, the drug remains federally illegal and is classified as a Schedule I narcotic, the harshest of five government ratings.
While many cannabis activists welcomed Boehner's change of heart, some critics complained that he's yet another wealthy white man able to slide into the marijuana industry while tens of thousands of Americans - particularly young black men - remain jailed on drug charges.
Boehner and Weld included information about how medical marijuana can help 20 million USA military veterans - that, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, 20 percent of veterans use marijuana to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments.
Mr. Altieri said Mr. Boehner could have more credibility among opponents, able to meet them where they are.
The governor had requested the marijuana legalization study as part of his state budget. "I have concluded descheduling [cannabis] is needed so that we can do research and allow the VA to offer it as a treatment option", he said.
New York-based Acreage, which has cannabis operations in 11 states, said Boehner and Weld will serve on its board of directors when that is formed.
According to Weld, "You can look at the trend of millennial opinion and you can see the future".