Marijuana legalization in the United States has received an unlikely supporter in the form of John Boehner, the former Republican House speaker. While changing his stance on marijuana laws, Boehner recently declared that now he was in favor of de-scheduling the drug to do research, help ailing veterans and reverse the opioid epidemic.
Boehner had voted to prohibit medical marijuana in 1999 but now announced that his “thinking on cannabis has evolved.” The former speaker also tweeted his decision to join the board of Acreage Holdings, one of the nation’s largest cannabis corporations operating cultivation, processing and dispensing across 11 American states. The former governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, would also join Acreage’s Board of Advisors.
In a joint statement issued by Boehner and Weld, both emphasized the importance of medical marijuana, especially for veterans, and said that despite 20 percent of them using cannabis to self-medicate in treating PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not allow its doctors to recommend its use. They further said that state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis has improved the lives of many other patient groups across the country. According to the duo, the federal policy on medical marijuana that classifies it as a Schedule I drug has negative consequences as it prevents the VA from offering the drug to veterans as an alternative to opioids.
According to Acreage founder and CEO Kevin Murphy, the duo’s arrival has added an unmatched experience to the company’s advisory board to help drive the company toward its strategic mission, bring more access to patients in need of medical marijuana and also help shape the course of this new industry.
Marijuana is addictive and illegal
One of the most commonly abused substances in the world, marijuana is gaining wider acceptance in the American society with approximately 22.2 million users. Recent years have seen an increase in support for marijuana with a majority of Americans in favor of legalization and greater access. At present, medical marijuana is legal in 29 American states and the District of Columbia with each state adopting a different approach for medical or recreational use of the drug through home cultivation or state-approved dispensaries. Though research has established the efficacy of the drug in treating chronic pain, PTSD and inflammatory bowel disease among others, it still remains illegal at the federal level.
Research also shows that about one in 10 marijuana users are expected to become addicted with the numbers rising to one in six for people who begin using it prior to 18 years. The sedative effects of the drug can quickly make the user dependent, and regular use can lead to problems with memory, learning, attention and decision-making capabilities.
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