After coming out against the legalization of cannabis in the past, Former House Speaker John Boehner now says his stance was wrong. He now believes that medical marijuana should be legalized nationally, and he says many of his fellow Republicans are having a similar change of heart.
In 2011, Boehner said that he was “unalterably opposed” to cannabis, but he claims that the seven-year-old comment was borne of ignorance. “Back then, like a lot of folks, I was getting faulty information,” he said when addressing the American Cannabis Summit seminar organized by the National Institute for Cannabis Investors.
He went on to say that not only was he wrong, but that lots of his colleagues on the Hill have told him their views are changing – and that includes some of the most conservative politicians he knows.
Boehner cited an interaction he had with a Navy SEAL as being a turning point. The veteran was dealing with the after-effects of concussions and vision-altering migraines. After refusing to take risky prescriptions, he found relief with cannabis. Boehner said he’s heard countless variations on this story, with vets using the drug to safely manage everything from pain to PTSD and depression.
Cannabis is not going away any time soon, he says, and now is the time to go “all in” on it. Although President Trump has stated in the past that states should decide on the matter, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has come out in opposition to legalization. Nevertheless, Boehner thinks that Trump agrees with his stance.
Legalization will help the economy, Boehner says
He added that legalization could spur the creation of 1.1 million new jobs. While he says that what he’s heard privately about the possibilities is “pretty sensitive,” he has a “strong suspicion” the government will legalize cannabis in less than five years. At that point, he believes the industry will double almost overnight to reach $100 billion.
The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Vice President of Investor Relations, Danny Brody, also sees tremendous potential, saying that legalization could cause cannabis to turn into a $1.1 trillion global industry in America. It would also affect industries like agriculture, food and pharmaceuticals.
The tide is turning
The public is also on board, with 62 percent of Americans saying they believe marijuana use should be legalized. This figure is twice the 31 percent who said the same in the year 2000. According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Democrats feel marijuana use should be legal. When it comes to Republicans, however, just 45 percent are in favor of legalization –although this does represent an increase from the 39 percent who said the same in 2015.
At the 2018 Republican Party Convention in June, nearly 10,000 conservative Texas politicians voted in favor of revising the party platform on marijuana to decriminalize possession of small amounts, support industrial hemp, and urge the federal government to move cannabis to the Schedule 2 drug category. Republicans in other states have gone further, but the move nevertheless signals a big change from the party’s previous position in a very short period of time.
Former Republican National Committee member David Flaherty told Newsweek that it is now “politically advantageous” for Republicans to support marijuana given the growing public support for it. More than 80 percent of Millennials say they feel marijuana is safer than alcohol, and this group is about to become the nation’s biggest block of voters.
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