It didn’t get much notice because it happened the same day Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced his retirement, but former House Speaker John Boehner has announced that he’s joining the board of Acreage Holdings, an investment company concentrating on the marijuana industry. In doing so, he added that his own position on legal marijuana had changed as public opinion had come around on the subject.
And Boehner is far from the only previously anti-pot politician to turn into an advocate.
In the nine states where recreational marijuana is legal, the announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Justice Department would crack down on the practice came with a lot of hand-wringing. But President Donald Trump said last week that the Justice Department shouldn’t concentrate on legal use, easing those fears.
In states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, conservative Republicans that previously were against legalization have stood up for their state’s decision, citing it as an example of states’ rights in our federal system of government, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner being among the most notable examples.
Florida passed a medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2016, and has had a state law in place since last year. Since then, thousands of patients have signed up, and more than 1,300 doctors have completed the training requirements to recommend marijuana to patients, according to the Florida Department of Health.
And Florida law may be expanding through the legal system. Although the law permits just a handful of growers in the state, last week, a court ruled that a lung cancer survivor in Tampa could grow his own marijuana for medicinal use. The ruling was automatically put on hold pending appeal, but on Tuesday, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers overturned that as well, clearing the way for Florida’s first legal grower for personal use. Plus, another lawsuit, this one against the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana, will be heard by the courts in May.
Given the rapidly changing landscape for marijuana in Florida and nationwide, we want to know whether readers have changed their minds on the plant, which is still illegal under federal law. Do you now support medical or recreational marijuana legalization when you used to be against it? What changed your mind?
Or conversely, are you a previous supporter who is now having second thoughts?
Email dsweeney@SunSentinel.com or tweet @Daniel_Sweeney with your response.