Former House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio), who sits on the board of a cannabis corporation, expressed his support for marijuana legalization ahead of this year's midterm elections.
"The trend could not be clearer: Cannabis prohibition is coming to an end," BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on Sunday. "A Gallup poll last month found 66% of Americans favor legal marijuana. I am now one of those Americans."
Boehner stated that he began to support marijuana use after a friend who suffered from chronic back pain began using medical cannabis. Boehner also writes that his experience on the board of Acreage Holdings has helped him learn more about how people have used the drug to combat pain.
He goes on to urge Washington to respect states' rights to regulate cannabis within their own borders, a call that comes as four states prepare to vote on Tuesday on measures that would relax marijuana restrictions.
"Until cannabis is legalized federally, Washington needs to respect states’ rights to regulate it within their borders. The 10th Amendment clearly protects states’ prerogative to do so, and we must not allow the federal nanny state to dictate otherwise," Boehner writes.
In addition, Boehner calls for other reforms surrounding marijuana legislation, such as calling for the Drug Enforcement Administration to stop classifying "marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic, the same category as heroin."
"As a congressman, I learned that government works best when it listens to its constituents," Boehner concludes. "Representatives must use what the people tell them to question constantly which policies are serving the greater good. It’s past time for government to rethink how it approaches cannabis."
Boehner's call comes just days before states such as Michigan and North Dakota vote on whether they should permit recreational use. Missouri and Utah voters will vote on whether the states can permit medical marijuana use.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in another 29.