• John Boehner Gets Right On Pot – Will The GOP?

    People can change. I’ve seen it firsthand. Human beings have the ability to actually learn new things and literally change their opinion on something. I know seems hard to believe in our world of stark lines between right and left.

    We’re used to watching Twitter fights with glee as people spout off and launch hashtags like a bomb. It’s normal for a “Friend” to “Un-Friend” you over a contentious conversation of a political nature.

    So it may be hard for some to believe it, but it’s true, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, John Boehner has changed his opinion on marijuana. And not just altered it…he literally flipped and did a 180!

    What happened to the John Boehner who in 2011 said,

    “I am unalterably opposed to legalization of marijuana”.

    Just a few short years ago Mr. Boehner was third in line to the most powerful job in the world and with that role he led the fight to keep medical marijuana illegal. That John Boehner is no more.

    John Boehner recently tweeted this,

    “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”

    Boehner who was no friend to marijuana advocates during his time in office went on to explain his shocking turnaround.

    “My thinking on Cannabis has evolved.”

    This change of heart is a good sign to many Republicans who felt that the party has been on the wrong side of the marijuana issue. Mr. Boehner’s ‘evolution’ on the subject is a breath of fresh air for the millions of Americans hoping for a change in laws governing the use of marijuana. If John Boehner can change there is new found hope that almost anyone can.

    According to a New York Times article, Erik Altieri, the executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, stated, “Mr. Boehner opposed even the mildest of marijuana law reforms.” Altieri continued, “He’s really just a sign of the times in terms of where the American public is going.”

    A Pew Research Center survey from October showed a strong shift toward federalism in relation to marijuana laws in general and overwhelming support for medical marijuana. Approximately 61% of Americans said marijuana should be legalized. That is up from 31% favoring it in 2000. A Gallup Poll recently showed similar results with 64% saying they supported legalization.

    The big divide on the subject is with the Republican and Democrat lawmakers.

    The Pew survey showed that 69% of Democrats supported legalization in the Pew survey, just 43% of Republicans did. In the Gallup poll, 72%of Democrats supported legal marijuana, compared with 51 % of Republicans.

    Candidate Trump was supportive of medical marijuana,

    “The marijuana thing is such a big thing. I think medical should happen.”

    It remains to be seen how President Trump will lead on this issue.

    In the House of Representatives, the GOP leadership initially blocked consideration of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment that was critical to millions of patients using cannabis in states that allowed it.   Ultimately, the language was added to the Omnibus, but that will expire on September 30th and the fact that the Republican leadership opposed it in the past indicates they are likely to oppose it again this fall.

    Rep. Rohrabacher argued that blocking the amendment would have hurt people who are prescribed medical marijuana.

    “By blocking our amendment, Committee leadership is putting at risk the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana for treatment, as well as the clinics and businesses that support them.”

    The amendment was a bipartisan breakthrough by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat. The GOP leadership trying to shoot it down sends a message loud and clear. The message, however, flies in the face of the overwhelming majority of Americans wishes on marijuana.

    The Republicans in power would do well to listen to former colleague, John Boehner, and get on the right side of marijuana legislation before they begin to lose their seats over it. Some believe this issue could be the difference in keeping Arizona as a Republican State and picking up a very winnable seat in Missouri and several others across the country.

    If John Boehner can change on marijuana, it’s proof that anybody can. The GOP Leadership would do well to take a cue from the former speaker.

    S.C. Sherman

    Senior Editor

    Steve Sherman is an author, popular radio commentator, and former Iowa House candidate. His articles have appeared nationally in both print and online for Townhall, Human Events, Clash Daily, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, Forbes, NRATV and others. All of his novels including his most recent tome, Lone Wolf Canyon, a modern day western that infuriates the left and all "Snowflakes," are available here.

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