Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he believes the federal government should not interfere with state decisions on recreational marijuana use.
“If the states decide they want to do this, this is up to them, but I am not going to be an advocate on what the states should and should not do,” Boehner told a Cincinnati TV station on Monday. “That’s clearly up to them.”
The Republican lawmaker was once adamant about his opposition to legalizing marijuana, but said he reversed his position since leaving Congress in 2015.
“When you look at kids with epilepsy … they’re taking the non-psychotic part of this plant and reducing the number of seizures they have,” Boehner told the outlet.
Medical marijuana is also very beneficial to veterans, he added.
“Even with chronic pain, or veterans with PTSD, they ought to be able to have access to medical marijuana because we believe it actually helps them,” Boehner said.
States with medical marijuana use see a decrease in opioid addictions by 25 percent, Boehner told the TV station.
In April, he joined the board of a cannabis corporation to promote the use of medical marijuana.
He has been lobbying to have marijuana declassified from a Schedule 1 drug to help further research efforts.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation last week that would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.
President Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, however, and rolled back an Obama-era policy in January that gave states freedom to manage their own policies regarding recreational use.