For years John Boehner strongly opposed the legalization of marijuana in any form. So, are you surprised to find out the former speaker of the House of Representatives is now telling us it is OK to smoke dope?
You shouldn’t be.
Such changes of heart often happen when politicians retire and get courted by special interest groups. You can boot a Congressman out of the swamp, but you can never wring the swamp out of them. These guys have lived a life of doing whatever it takes to pocket a vote. In retirement, they’re not going to let an ethics dilemma become a wall between them and a stash of cash.
Thus, it was just another day in our nation’s Capitol when it was reported last week that a cannabis company, Acreage Holdings, offered Boehner a seat on its advisory board and his response was, “Where do a light up, err, I mean sign up?”
Seats on such boards make the bank account buzz. While it hasn’t been reported how much Boehner will be paid for being a pom-pom boy for the legalization of marijuana, according to Bloomberg News an average board director’s pay tops $330,000 at like entities. Thus, it’s no wonder why 44 percent of senators and 11 percent of representatives who’ve departed Capitol Hill the last 25 years have warmed the seats in boardrooms.
One can only imagine the party atmosphere at Acreage Holdings after Boehner agreed to partake in their mission.
“The fact that a former speaker of the House, a Republican nonetheless, has joined the board of a cannabis company says volumes about how far we’ve come as an industry,” Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen, a Los Angeles-based cannabis company told Bloomberg News. “It shows that we’re on the right side of this issue, and that the momentum is building for the eventual end of the federal prohibition.”
The 68-year-old Boehner says the only thing he’s inhaled have been Camel Ultra Lights, which he continues to chain smoke today. As a teenager growing up in the 1960s, and a Congressman in the decades that followed, Boehner demonized those who smoked pot. He’s since had an epiphany, as have a many Republicans who now support legalization. An October Gallup poll has that number at 51 percent while a Pew survey has it at 41 percent.
“As public opinion shifts, members’ opinions on this are going to shift — I’m a prime example,” Boehner told Bloomberg News. “Over these last 10 years, my attitude has changed pretty dramatically on this.”
Question: Was that before or after Acreage Holdings passed you their offer?
ROSES AND THORNS: The queen of crossword enters the rose garden.
Rose: To Cindy Christoff, of Elida. She was the first person to send in the correct answers to last week’s crossword stumpers: Trapp family dog (Answer: The hound of music); Proof the cat ate the canary (Answer: Down in the mouth).
Rose: To Frank Hartman, of Lima. He caught the first trout after 1,250 of the fish were released Thursday at Schoonover Lake by the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.
Rose: To Dave and Karen Young of Fort Jennings. They donated a 1959 Buick Electra to an auction being held to raise funds for Soldier Square Memorial Park.
Rose: To John and Maxine Evans of Gomer. They will celebrate 65 years of marriage on Tuesday.
Rose: To Thelma Wilson of Lima. She celebrated her 102 birthday on April 10.
Thorn: To Ryan L. Schaadt, 33, of Van Wert. He went to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility to visit another inmate despite being wanted on a felony indictment of trafficking in drugs. Deputies saw him, arrested him, and then found he was also carrying multiple packages of suspected drugs and capsules containing powder believed to be drugs.
Thorn: To Tristam Cheeseman, a write-in candidate for the 4th Ohio House District. He created an uproar among students and faculty when he tried to organize a day-long walkout at Bath High School.
PARTING SHOT: When your only tool is a hammer, all problems start looking like nails.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.