Boehner's Back. But It's Not What You Would Expect

Stacey Lennox

In full transparency, I am part of an organization that works diligently to reclassify cannabis so that appropriate medical research can be done on the more than 80 chemicals that make up the plant. Any number of medications are derived from plants. One example, digoxin, is made from the foxglove plant. If you ingest the plant, call poison control. But digoxin, originally isolated from this poisonous plant, is essential in the treatment of heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation.

I am not sure why our federal government can't seem to get around the stigma attached to one chemical in the plant, THC, which causes the psychoactive effects. Maybe leaving the ranks of the behemoth changes your thinking. Or maybe the pharma dollars stop lining your pockets.

In either case, this tweet came from the former Speaker's Twitter account today:

Former Governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, has also joined the Board of Acreage Holdings. Together Boehner and Weld issued this public statement:

While we come at this issue from different perspectives and track records, we both believe the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy. Over the past 20 years a growing number of states have experimented with their right to offer cannabis programs under the protection of the 10th amendment. During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. Also, during this period, the public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94% of Americans currently in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana’s many medical applications.

We need to look no further than our nation's 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis.

While the Tenth Amendment has allowed much to occur at the state level, there are still many negative implications of the Federal policy to schedule cannabis as a Class 1 drug: most notably the lack of research, the ambiguity around financial services and the refusal of the VA to offer it as an alternative to the harmful opioids that are ravishing our communities.

We are excited to join the team at Acreage in pursuit of their mission to bring safe, consistent and reliable products to patients and consumers who could benefit. We have full confidence in their management team and believe this is the team that will transform the debate, policy and landscape around this issue.

Perhaps adding high profile individuals like Boehner, and previously Senator Orrin Hatch, will speed the evolution on this topic. If you read the formal research being done in Israel, it is simply pathetic that a in a nation such as ours, our representatives can not get beyond our history with cannabis and get it together. There are treatment implications for epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, anxiety and depression and even cancer in the formal research to date. Even the dreaded compound THC seems to have some disease fighting potential.

Research on the whole plant needs to begin quickly. Big pharma has a synthetic form of the drug in FDA approvals. Oddly, these synthetic drugs can cause a whole host of side effects not seen with medication derived directly from the plant. It also allows for the patents and process controls that ensure the price of the drug remain high.

So welcome to the party Speaker Boehner. You are on the right side of the issue for patients and working to unshackle the natural form of the medicine that can't be patented and grows like a weed. I almost regret the number of time I tweeted #FireBoehner. Almost.