In a day full of political surprises, former House Speaker John Boehner may have delivered the biggest one.
The Ohio Republican, who for years opposed the legalization of cannabis, announced Wednesday that he is joining the board of Acreage Holdings, a company that cultivates, processes, and dispenses the substance in 11 states.
What inspired the sharp U-turn?
“[What] really struck home with him was the fact that 20 percent of veterans...self-report that they use it,” said George Allen, president of Acreage, in an interview with Cheddar. “He’s a tireless advocate for veterans’ rights.”
Acreage reached out to Boehner about the opportunity. “When we first approached him about it, I think he was a bit skeptical,” Allen said.
Joining Boehner on the Acreage advisory board will be former Massachusetts Governor and 2016 Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld, who has “been very progressive on the topic,” said Allen.
Boehner, who resigned from the House in 2015 after 24 years in Congress, explained his shift on cannabis in a post on Twitter. His movement on the issue is in line with an overall shift in perception of marijuana across the United States, where more Americans now say they're in favor of legalization.
“This basically sends the signal that we are approaching a time when full acceptance of cannabis as an appropriate medical treatment is coming,” said Allen.
For the full interview, click here.