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Former Speaker of the House John Boehner continued his newfound crusade for all things cannabis this week, calling for increased access to medical marijuana for epileptic children and veterans suffering from PTSD, while also offering his tacit support for adult-use recreational legalization.
While visiting Ohio for a charity golf event this week, Boehner sat down for an interview with local WCPO9 News to expand on his recently-enlightened stance on cannabis reform.
"There's a lot of evidence that it works," Boehner said. "When you look at kids with epilepsy... they're taking the non-psychotic [sic] part of this plant and reducing the number of seizures they have. Even with chronic pain, or veterans with PTSD, they ought to be able to have access to medical marijuana because we believe it actually helps them."
For the entirety of his three-plus decades in politics, Boehner continually rejected marijuana as a dangerous gateway drug. In 2011, during his first term as Speaker of the House, Boehner wrote that he was against the "legalization of marijuana" and "concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs."
Boehner changed his tune completely this year when he took a position on the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a New York-based medical marijuana company. He told reporters that he, like many Americans, had looked at the data and had a change of heart about the controversial drug's efficacy.
"When you look at the states where medical marijuana is pretty prevalent, the use of opioids is down 25 percent," Boehner told reporters from WCPO this week.
Outside of the medical realm, Boehner offered his first comments on state-specific recreational legalization, voicing support for policies that prevent federal enforcement on the adult-use cannabis industry, as well as nationwide cannabis rescheduling.
"If the states decide they want to do this, this is up to them, but I am not going to be an advocate on what the states should and should not do," Boehner said. "That's clearly up to them."
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