Boehner And Trump And Cannabis, Oh My! Big Changes Coming To Legal Marijuana

Apr 13, 2018 @ 06:21 PM
Julie Weed , Contributor

President Trump has confirmed a deal with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to let Colorado make its own cannabis legalization decisions in exchange for the Senator not holding up Department of Justice nominations. John Boehner joined the advisory board of a marijuana company, despite being anti-legalization when he was Speaker of the House in Congress. Pennsylvania recently said it will allow university hospitals to participate in clinical trials of cannabis.

Marijuana industry entrepreneurs are hoping they are on the cusp of a significant national transformation. These are “major breakthroughs” said Acreage Holdings chief executive Kevin Murphy. Acreage is the company Boehner joined, and it has ownership of marijuana growing, processing and retail facilities in eleven states.

Trump’s agreement to let Colorado, and presumably other states, decide on their own cannabis laws, goes directly against the actions of his attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions had rescinded the Cole memorandum which protected cannabis companies operating legally under their own state regulations from federal prosecution.

Previously, on the campaign trail, Trump had said he supported states' rights to create their own cannabis laws, and that he was in favor of medical marijuana legalization, but had not taken any actions in these areas. Instead, he had appointed an attorney general who was moving in the opposite direction.

Andy Williams, founder of Medicine Man Technologies a consulting company in the cannabis industry said, "The next step from here should be making law out of the Cole memo, so it’s legislation instead of a referendum." He said this could also help address the significant lack of banking available to the multi-billion dollar industry, and the fact that business expenses, like equipment purchases, cannot be deducted by cannabis businesses.

Kris Krane, co-founder of 4Front which helps entrepreneurs pursue cannabis cultivation, retail distribution, production, technology, and other ancillary services said, it was encouraging that president Trump "has agreed to a legislative solution that would protect state legal cannabis businesses and uphold the overwhelming will of the voters in those states.”

Krane said he appreciated that Senator Gardner was making the defense of his state’s marijuana laws a priority for his federal agenda.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and Former US House Speaker John Boehner, recently joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings cannabis company. Boehner’s views on de-scheduling the substance and its possibilities as a medicine changed as public opinion did, according to Weld. Press materials said he witnessed the positive effect of medical marijuana on a friend. (Boehner was not made available on the press call)

Weld said 94% of adults in the US believe medical marijuana should be legal. He said his function and Boehner's at Acreage Holdings would be “publicity and persuasion, not operational."

Acreage Holdings has already aligned with a university hospital in Pennsylvania to collaborate on cannabis research, but hasn’t announced which one yet, said Murphy.