John Boehner: From Speaker of the House to Cannabis Pitchman

John Boehner

For evidence, “We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments,” they said, denouncing “the refusal of the V.A. to offer it as an alternative” to opioids.

Chanda Macias, the National Cannabis Roundtable’s first vice chairwoman and the owner and general manager of the National Holistic Health Center medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, said that she had seen more than 10,000 patients who suffer from a lack of research, education and access to medical marijuana.

“This is not about Boehner,” Ms. Macias added, “this is about saving lives.”

On March 15, Mr. Boehner and Kevin Murphy, Acreage Holdings’s chief executive, spoke at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., their business attire contrasting with the crowd’s T-shirts and sleeve tattoos.

“I’d rather not take Advil PM every night,” Mr. Boehner said. “If only there was something else that could help me sleep.’’ He drew jeers from some members of the audience who objected to Mr. Boehner’s cashing in on the cannabis boom after opposing legalization for so long.

When he was House speaker, Mr. Boehner earned the equivalent of an “F” rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which in 2011 excoriated him for his opposition to the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. The proposed bill, which died in committee, would have legalized marijuana for adult use and removed it from the Food and Drug Administration’s list of Schedule I controlled substances.

In a 2011 blog post, the organization highlighted Mr. Boehner’s frosty response to “Todd,” an Ohio constituent who wrote Mr. Boehner asking him to co-sponsor the bill. “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug,” Mr. Boehner wrote. “I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”

Eight years later, Paul Armentano, the organization’s deputy director, has accused Mr. Boehner of “financial opportunism.”

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