John Boehner, the oft-crying Vineyard Vines mannequin who retired as Speaker of the House in October 2015, has become a leading voice in the fight to “de-schedule” marijuana. This awkward phrase refers to efforts to strip the plant of its Schedule I classification as currently enforced by the Federal Government, which lumps it amongst other “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” such as LSD, heroin, and meth.
“an unexpected ally”
His position on matter—which he restated in an interview Monday, telling a local news reporter that the Feds should “get out of the way” on marijuana legislation—has startled many, given that it comes from a man who once declared himself “unalterably opposed” to legalized marijuana.
“My thinking on cannabis has evolved,” Boehner tweeted in April.
Coincidentally, so has his financial position; in the very same tweet, Boehner announced he would be joining the board of Acreage Holdings, a role “likely to compensate him handsomely.” With the market as a whole projected to grow to $75B by 2030—and the fact that board members are often paid in company stock— we can only imagine the exact haul.
“A vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets”
In a joint statement announcing the move, Boehner cited multiple reasons why marijuana’s current Schedule I classification is poor policy, including a lack of research, ambiguity around its financial services, and the removal of a potential substitute for “harmful opioids.” Notably left off this list is the effect that marijuana’s criminalization has had hollowing out communities—at least those that aren’t white—through the imprisonment of its otherwise law-abiding members.
While some have painted Boehner’s change of heart as a “Weed Win,” describing the ex-congressman as an “unexpected ally,” it’s a little more complicated than that, depending crucially on how you feel about people doing the right things for all the wrong reasons. Not to mention the question of if you really want to get your weed from a dealer who describes themselves as “a vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets”.