Like many of us, I struggle with forgiveness. In theory, I grasp the harm done by not engaging in forgiveness, as well as the numerous benefits that are afforded the person who is able to let something go and move forward. And sure, for some transgressions, I am a zen master of letting go. Snap at me because you are hangry, or didn't have a good night's sleep? We cool.
But I also sometimes struggle with acknowledging and supporting those who have grown in their thinking to take a more humane, progressive position on issues they once opposed. We all have the capability to mature and achieve new levels of awareness, so when someone does "come around" on an issue important to me, I want to recognize and applaud their growth. I truly do.
Then there is John Boehner, former Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015. Boehner was the right-wing, Dollar-Tree-bronzer loving, Obama-despising buffoon who, in addition to be on the wrong side of history on dozens of issues, was given a "zero percent" by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) on legalization, meaning he was opposed to "all forms of marijuana decriminalization."
Back in 2011, Boehner said he was "unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana... I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol." This was a long held belief by Boehner, who in 1999 voted to oppose needle exchanges and medical marijuana in Washington, DC.
Then a funny thing happened today, when he tweeted:
I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. 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. @AcreageCannabis https://t.co/f5i9KcQD0W
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 11, 2018
If you just asked yourself, "Acreage who now?" they are, according to their press release, "one of the nation's largest, multi-state actively-managed, vertically integrated, cannabis corporations, headquartered in New York City and operating in 11 states, and own cultivation, processing and dispensary operations, having one of the largest footprints of any U.S. based cannabis company."
So, craft cannabis this is not, in case you were wondering.
I get it—having someone who knows how things work in DC is a smart move for Acreage Holdings, and there is certainly no one better than Boehner to help explain that. And I would love if my belief in my fellow humans gave me faith that Boehner now really does believe in helping veterans and the sick, and wants to help end the opiod crisis through the tools that cannabis can offer.
Except this isn't that. This is a move by a calculating former politician to make money. Lots of it. I don't believe Boehner is in favor of cannabis reform or legalization in a manner that is going to benefit the consumer or the craft cannabis industry, because this is a son of a bitch who has always been on the side of corporate interests and the rich, with documented disdain for women, the LBGTQ community, and the environment.
On the Issues lists his track record:
Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)And on and on and on. There are hundreds of examples on their site.
Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance. (Dec 2006)
Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
Rated 100% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 0% by UFCW, indicating a pro-management voting record. (May 2012)
Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
Rated 28% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance.
As cannabis grows more mainstream, there will be people with expansive histories of hate, fear, and prejudice that the industry will welcome for their skill sets, and not because they are converts to the belief of the value of cannabis. Not long ago, Boehner would have preferred to see anyone who helped build this industry rot in a prison cell for years; now he sees an opportunity to make tremendous money from the same industry that was built off of the backs of those very people.
I'm not going to front—I don't know enough about his new employer to make a judgment call on their overall benefit or detriment to the industry. But I don't feel great about seeing them embrace the former Speaker. I'm going to poke around some more, and determine if Acreage Holdings are involved with brands and companies that I support with my purchases locally.