Boehner Shall Smoke Them, Cuz It Seems He's Got Them.

Republican former speaker of the House John Boehner is joining the board of advisors for Acreage Holdings, a “multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporation.” In the statement included with the announcement, Boehner and fellow appointee Democrat former governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld highlighted the shift in public perception towards cannabis over the last few decades, as well as the 20 percent of veterans who reportedly “use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments.”

So of course I had a typically mature exchange with a friend and reader who shall remain anonymous:

As you dear reader know, I firmly believe that cannabis should be legalized nationally, especially for medical use, but really just legalize it all already, c’mon. I know we will need effective lobbying to get there: the involvement of effective politicians like Boehner lobbying on issues like can (corporate bullshit jargon alert) move the needle faster than otherwise. And we need the needle to move faster: according to the ACLU, “of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana.” We know that that “black Americans are arrested for marijuana possession far more frequently than whites” and that the war on drugs disproportionally impacted (read: destroyed) communities of color.

So let me say this: Boehner working on this issue is a very good thing. But forgive me for being skeptical of his appointment. Back in 2011 the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reported that Boehner said he remained “unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.” And as Quartz states in a headline yesterday, “420,000 people were arrested for selling marijuana while John Boehner ran Congress(a suspiciously round number but you know, smoke ‘em if you’ve got them.) He’s joining a board of a company, not a non-profit. And while I have no problem with anyone making a buck off of the decriminalization of weed, I will wait and see how he invests his political talents in clearing our prisons of those convicted of cannabis-related crimes. And he can start here in California, where many still sit behind bars despite the legalization of marijuana and the ability to clear one’s record, while I can have CBD balm delivered to my door for my formerly-broken leg, and THC mints delivered for my asshole brain.

So god speed, Speaker Boehner, on your cannabis quest. I hope you move swiftly, equitably, and with justice for all.

Thank you to Stefana and Teresa for pointing out the historical context.