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Former Republican Speaker of The House and cannabis opponent Boehner reforms his views on the plant

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Republican John Boehner was the speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. During that time, he reported he was “unalterably opposed” to cannabis legalization. Now, it seems, the former speaker has had a change of heart.

Boehner’s “thinking on cannabis has evolved,” he reported on Twitter today. This would make sense, as he’s now a board member of Acreage Holdings, a cannabis corporation that operates in 11 states.

“He’s really just a sign of the times in terms of where the American public is going,” Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told The New York Times.

This statement can be backed up, as 61 percent of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized according to a January 2018 poll by the Pew Research Center. In 2000, the approval rating for legalization was half that at 31 percent. Even in light of this, there is still an overwhelming partisan divide on the topic.

According to the Pew survey, 69 percent of Democrats support legalization compared to just 43 percent of Republicans. Altieri told The New York Times it would be crucial for Republican leaders to come forward in support of cannabis legalization given the party’s current control of the federal government and several state capitols.

The shift in Boehner’s opinion, in particular, appeared after a close friend has successfully used cannabis to manage his back pain.

“You begin to really scratch your head” when looking at how many people have been put in prison for low-level possession, Boehner said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” Boehner stated. “I find myself in that same position.”

Hopefully, he won’t be the only former or current Republican leader coming out to support cannabis.

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Former Republican Speaker of The House and cannabis opponent Boehner reforms his views on the plant