This column has noted the slow butsteady uptick of support for decriminalization efforts among the Washington establishment, in open defiance of fed-level recalcitrance on the issue. It started with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s legislation to legalize the stuff and purge criminal convictions, a process already well underway in California, with more states to follow. The effort went officially bipartisan with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to reboot the country’s historic hemp industry, of which his home state of Kentucky would be a major beneficiary.
The newest addition to this club may be the most surprising of all: former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who took to Twitter to tout his joining the board of advisors for Acreage Holdings (formerly known as High Street Capital Management). “I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved,” tweeted Boehner in the early morning of April 11—incidentally, the same day his successor Paul Ryan (the boho Brutus to his clearance-rank Caesar) announced his retirement from Congress. “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”
No word on whether he was weeping uncontrollably as his thumbs drummed the touchpad, but having been schooled in the grand Nixonian tradition of crying on command (which Poppy Bush has elevated to an art form in his dotage), one expects him to put this talent to good use on behalf of his new colleagues. Boehner, who’d come down firmly against legalization as late as 2009, has had a proverbial change of heart, which cynics situate closer to his left breast pocket, where he allegedly keeps his wallet. But, hey, a win’s a win, no matter how it happens-that’s been the modus operandi for Republican Party Reptiles from Day One. This is a party line departure, but given the way he was basically Ol’ Yellered out of his previous job, there’s no expectation of loyalty from him.
Those of us old enough to remember that brief shining moment when it appeared the GOP’s future might lie in its moderate wing will be waxing nostalgic AF at the Acreage board, which added former Massachusetts governor William Weld (one of the all-time political weirdos) on the same day Boehner joined. The Maine company was founded in 2012, and quickly grew to include investments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. It changed its name last year, opening cultivation facilities in Illinois and, yes, Florida, while holding at least 22 dispensary licenses, literally from coast to coast. And now they’ve bought themselves a little piece of the Beltway. Worth every penny!