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Welcome On Board, John Boehner!

[ Posted Thursday, April 12th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

With just over a week to go before the annual "4/20" celebration of marijuana, former speaker of the House John Boehner just jumped on the legalization bandwagon. This is a rather extraordinary and stunning turn of events, since Boehner was pretty adamant about his opposition to any form of legalization while he was still in office (when he could have actually done some good), but he now says he has evolved on the issue. I, for one, am glad to take him at his word and welcome him on board the pro-legalization bandwagon. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, some who have been on this bandwagon for decades might scoff at Boehner's recent conversion to the cause. They'd point out -- rightly so -- that the earlier someone took a pro-marijuana stance, the better. Right-wing conservative pioneer Barry Goldwater, for instance, was always against marijuana being illegal, which (for the time) was a pretty radical, left-wing position for someone like Goldwater to take. Back in the 1960s, public approval of legalization was incredibly low. Now that it stands at over 60 percent (including over 50 percent of Republicans), Boehner's stand shouldn't be seen as quite as bold.

This is true, but marijuana has always really been a bipartisan issue, and I welcome any politician (or ex-politician) from any part of the political spectrum who agrees that legalization's time has come. I respect those who have stood for legalization for many years more than I do the latecomers, I will admit, but at the same time I sincerely welcome everyone to the cause who has seen the light.

More and more politicians are slowly figuring out that being pro-legalization isn't even all that radical a position to take anymore. With such strong public support, it could even now be said to be the most politically expedient position, in fact. Marijuana supporters can be found throughout the political spectrum, after all. Red-state ultraconservatives smoke weed, as do tree-hugging liberals in San Francisco -- and everyone in between, really. What politicians have mostly been missing is that not only is this issue one of the most bipartisan around, there are also a lot of single-issue voters on marijuana -- people who would normally never turn out to vote but do so when there's a legalization ballot initiative.

As mentioned, some politicians realized this years ago. Gavin Newsom, in California, was pro-legalization long before it became so popular -- back when he truly was taking a political risk (even in California) to support the idea. Remember, California held two voter referenda on the issue, because the first one failed. Newsom chaired the committee to get the second one passed, while fellow Golden State Democrat Dianne Feinstein chaired both of the "No" efforts.

This year might be seen by historians as the tipping point, when it became safer for politicians (left, right, and center) to be for legalization than against it. Actress Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Andrew Cuomo for New York governor in the Democratic primary, has made it a key issue of hers -- because Cuomo is so weak and politically vulnerable on it. Nixon just released a campaign video on the issue, where she points out that 80 percent of New Yorkers who are arrested for marijuana are black or brown:

There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity.... The simple truth is, for white people, the use of marijuana has effectively been legal for a long time. Isn't it time we legalize it for everybody else?

That's a pretty in-your-face way to put it, you have to admit. While Cuomo timidly and halfheartedly supports studying the issue (for a good long while) rather than doing anything about it, Nixon is forcing his feet to the fire. I fully expect to see more candidates taking such confrontational stances on the issue all across the country during this year's campaign season -- Democrats and Republicans alike.

To put it bluntly, being against marijuana legalization is no longer the safe political stance to take. It used to be, not too long ago. Less than 20 years ago, public support for legalization stood at just above 30 percent. It now stands at or over 60 percent. That is a monumental shift in public attitude, and politicians better realize this ground has moved in dramatic fashion.

As more and more authentic medical research is allowed to happen (rather than, in the past, only research which aimed to produce anti-marijuana propaganda), the federal government's long history of lies about the killer weed are being debunked, one by one. As more and more states legalize recreational use of cannabis -- and the sky does not fall -- more and more Americans are left wondering what the big deal was in the first place.

Of course, there are still reactionaries who insist on keeping their heads firmly planted in the sand. Jeff Sessions springs to mind. Or Scott Pruitt, who (it was recently revealed) wanted to redesign the Environmental Protection Agency's logo, because he thought "it looked like a marijuana leaf." So there's still a lot of idiocy left to fight, obviously.

John Boehner is living proof, however, that even the hardest attitudes can eventually change. While Boehner was in office, he stated he was "unalterably opposed" to even decriminalizing marijuana, and was against "legalization of marijuana or any other F.D.A. Schedule I drug," because he was "concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol." As recently as September 2015, Boehner hadn't changed his mind on the subject. Almost half a million people were arrested for marijuana offenses during Boehner's term as speaker, from 2011 to 2015. But that was then. This is now -- where John Boehner tweeted his news out in surprisingly detailed fashion:

I'm joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. 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.

Of course, if he had bothered to listen to the same communities when he was in a position to do something about it, things might be better now -- Boehner cannot escape this fact. This is why, upon hearing the news, Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), pointed out: "It would've been more helpful for him advocating for this 10 years ago." Altieri also reflected: "Think of the number of veterans who could've had relief sooner."

But Altieri isn't turning Boehner away or anything. NORML issued a press release on the Boehner news where Altieri personally echoes my position on the issue:

John Boehner's evolution on marijuana legalization mirrors that of both the American public in general and Republicans specifically.... Regardless of motive, former Speaker Boehner is still held in high regard by a large percentage of the GOP membership and voter base. We look forward to his voice joining the growing chorus calling for an end to cannabis criminalization. Anything that expedites the ability for patients to access this safe and reliable treatment alternative, and that facilitates an end to the practice of arresting otherwise law abiding citizens for the possession of a plant should be welcomed with open arms.

Exactly. So welcome to the marijuana legalization bandwagon, John Boehner! We're happy to have you on board. Anyone who evolves in similar fashion should know that there's plenty of room for everyone aboard this particular bandwagon, no matter how fast it is growing. Everyone's welcome, in fact, and that most definitely includes John Boehner.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

21 Comments on “Welcome On Board, John Boehner!”

  1. [1] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If Boehner can finally come around to the right side on marijuana, then there is hope that you will finally come around to the right side on small contribution campaigns. Better late than never.

    If 60% overall support (and 50% of Republicans) is enough to make marijuana a winning issue then 80% support (and around 60% of Republicans) wanting the Big Money out of politics should be enough to make running a small contribution campaign a winning issue.

    If it's okay that people can be one issue voters on marijuana then why isn't it okay for people to vote on one issue for small contributions? And if that is just a starting point and not the only issue isn't that also okay?

    Shouldn't people be able to demand that?

    After all, Cynthia Nixon said "Power concedes nothing without a demand."

    This is no time to timidly sit back and halfheartedly support superficial small contribution deceptions like the forty dollar contribution mentioned about Beta O'Rourke that puts off doing something real about the problem of Big Money now when now is one of the better opportunities in an off year election.

    Isn't it time we find out if we can make it so that taking Big Money to finance a campaign is no longer a safe political position to take?

    You said you have been busy, but when you find the time there are about three weeks worth of comments trying to continue the conversation on One Demand that was started right before you got busy.

    Please make room in your upcoming schedule to address this issue and finish the conversation that was started.

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Boehner is emphasizing research, veterans and fightning opiate addiction, but omits any reference to business opportunity. #AcerageHolding is a for profit venture. I have no problem with that, but JB should honest about the $$$ he and the company stand to make. All the other stuff is perpheral spin off.

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    1

    STFU = Subject Tangent Fundamentally Unrelated

  4. [4] 
    neilm wrote:

    Marijuana legalization, like sensible gun control, are two area where Washington is out of line with the rest of the country. Another is keeping Mueller in his position, which even a majority of Republicans want but is something that looks less and less likely every day.

    One difference between marijuana supporters and other movements is the lack of mass marches. Instead we have the rapidly approaching 4/20.

    One of my kids goes to UC Santa Cruz, an older one graduated from there a few years ago. Both times we planned a visit (beautiful campus - it is like the World's largest tree house), and late April is "campus visit season".

    Sure enough the web site had tours for prospective candidates, that you can see here:

    https://admissions.sa.ucsc.edu/tours/

    Turns out this year, like both the years we checked, there are tours every weekday except one. After my oldest spent his first 4/20 on campus, he explained that the admissions staff probably don't want a lot of potential students' parents wandering around on that one day :)

  5. [5] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Altieri also reflected: "Think of the number of veterans who could've had relief sooner."

    Think of the children... no, wait! Don't think of the children; that always and without fail turns on the waterworks. ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrzQ_G74sns

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:

    OK, so sometimes I get to pat myself on the back.

    Headline in the Washinton Post:

    "Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership amid trade dispute with China"

    Excerpt from my comment on November 22, 2016:

    "If you see our Asian trade envoy shuttling around the Pacific Rim in the next few years and Trump et al. railing on about intellectual property rights, prepare for TPP #2. I can only hope."

    Source: http://www.chrisweigant.com/2016/11/21/new-endangered-species-deficit-hawk/#comment-89012

    Smug mode on.

  7. [7] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    4

    Turns out this year, like both the years we checked, there are tours every weekday except one. After my oldest spent his first 4/20 on campus, he explained that the admissions staff probably don't want a lot of potential students' parents wandering around on that one day :)

    Who would have thought that the most excellent school with the famous banana slug mascot named "Sammy the Slug" would be worried about a little weed on campus? ;)

  8. [8] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick (3)-
    Thank you for identifying and pointing out the problem- that the one issue that has an effect on every other issue is once again not the subject of the article and it is NEVER the subject of the article even when it is mentioned.

    And if CW would continue the conversation on One Demand we might be able to find out why this is a recurring problem.

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @kick [3],

    Steamy Turds Found Untenable?

    -Just Laughing

  10. [10] 
    Paula wrote:

    Referencing the discussion about wages from last thread: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/04/wheres-our-money

    Notes:

    The symptoms of the problem are not hard to miss. In February, for example, the American economy posted its biggest one-month jobs gain in a couple years, but wage growth stayed stalled out. For months, economists and financial journalists have been puzzling over the question, as Bloomberg put it, of “why the economy grows but your paycheck doesn’t”. ‘Arab spring for teachers’: educators in Oklahoma join wave of strikes
    Read more

    Economists will tell you that wages generally increase with productivity – that you’re paid in line with the value of what you do. This was credible from the end of the second world war to the 1970s, when productivity and hourly wages rose almost perfectly in sync. But according to research by the Economic Policy Institute, from the early 1970s to 2016 productivity went up 73.7%, and wages only 12.3%. (Stucki: this is the view you put forth ^ but it isn't true anymore.)

    Similarly, there used to be a positive relationship between stock prices and wage increases. But some initial signs of wage growth in February sent the market spiraling over inflation fears – until it became clear that the reported wage gains were all concentrated among top earners. Then everyone calmed down and stopped selling.

  11. [11] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    For months, economists and financial journalists have been puzzling over the question, as Bloomberg put it, of “why the economy grows but your paycheck doesn’t”. But some initial signs of wage growth in February sent the market spiraling over inflation fears – until it became clear that the reported wage gains were all concentrated among top earners. Then everyone calmed down and stopped selling.

    Yep. First it was "What's good for America is good for investors."

    Then it was "What's good for General Motors is good for America"

    Then it was "What's good for me is good for America"

    Now it's "Whatever's good for my bottom line. Screw America, I can get workers at half price in Asia."

  12. [12] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    8

    Thank you for identifying and pointing out the problem.

    Thank you for admitting you're the problem. :)

    that the one issue that has an effect on every other issue is once again not the subject of the article and it is NEVER the subject of the article even when it is mentioned.

    I didn't say any of that, Don. It is long past time that you grew a set of brain cells and ceased in your clingy and obsessed efforts to take every comment and twist it into your self-serving agenda.

    I have described your BS many times as "your rabbit hole," but at this point, Don, you're clinging so hard to your fantasy that you're at the not-going-to-be-ignored/rabbit-in-the-pot-boiling stage. Hint: You'll not get the ending you've obsessed over.

  13. [13] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    9

    Steamy Turds Found Untenable?

    You know it.

    -Just Laughing

    I see what you did there, "JL" :)

  14. [14] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    So Trump, furious at a man he calls "a proven LEAKER & LIAR..[who]..leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted", pardons a man who was convicted of all of the above.

    Consistency. That's the ticket.

  15. [15] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    It could be worse. We could be arguing about Taylor Swift's new cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September".

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "...but at this point, Don, you're clinging so hard to your fantasy that you're at the not-going-to-be-ignored/rabbit-in-the-pot-boiling stage. Hint: You'll not get the ending you've obsessed over."

    Probably the same thing that Boehner said just a few years ago about people wanting to legalize weed.

    Speaking of weed, perhaps you wouldn't be so cranky and obsessed with me expressing my opinion if you got a prescription for some medicinal weed.

  17. [17] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [2] -

    Yeah, when writing this I considered going off on a side rant on people who were doing it for the right reasons, and those just trying to make a buck.

    Also: big business weed versus craft weed growers.

    But then I decided to give Boehner a pass for now. If he can make a buck selling his name to the cause, then more power to him, that's what I decided. Crass and calculating? Sure, but at least he's on board...

    neilm [4] -

    Heh. UCSC has always waged a rearguard action against the 4/20 celebration, but things have calmed down considerably since legalization was approved by the voters. So this year will probably be the calmest one yet. Maybe in future years, they'll even let townies park up there to enjoy the festivities. Hey, if John Freakin' Boehner can become pro-weed, how hard should it be for University of California, Hippie Campus to do, right?

    Kick [5] -

    Heh.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jFqhjaGh30

    neilm [6] -

    You are hereby awarded official CW.com Bragging Rights™!

    :-)

    Kick [7] -

    Good point, and nice Sammy the Slug reference! It's a long story, one of uppity campus cops and adminstrators refusing to admit their own institutional past, sadly...

    Kick [12] -

    Or Oroborous, maybe...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros

    Balthasar [15] -

    Surely you jest. There are some things which should be considered sacred, after all.

    -CW

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Ouroborus. Hmmm.

    Well it is the same cycle repeated over and over. All the reasons you accept as valid for other issues don't seem to apply to One Demand and you don't seem to address what One Demand is preferring to argue against what it isn't and then not continuing the conversation when I point that out. And Kick keeps complaining that I keep asking while ignoring that you not actually answering which is why I keep asking.

    But it also does say that it is "often taken to symbolize introspection."

    And it says regarding introspection:
    "introspection...is perhaps best known for it's role in epistemology. In this context introspection is often compared with perception, reason, memory and testimony as a source of knowledge."

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    16, 18

    Probably the same thing that Boehner said just a few years ago about people wanting to legalize weed.

    Did the federal government legalize weed as of yet? No, they have not, and I submit that if JB had remained Speaker of the House, his view on the subject wouldn't have "evolved" one iota or even a skosh.

    Speaking of weed, perhaps you wouldn't be so cranky and obsessed with me expressing my opinion if you got a prescription for some medicinal weed.

    If me smoking weed would stop your pathetic obsession with trolling the author and his blog, then I'd get lit without a prescription.

    And Kick keeps complaining that I keep asking while ignoring that you not actually answering which is why I keep asking.

    So Don, based on the statement above, you seem to be under the mistaken belief that I should somehow blame CW for making me complain about your pathetic obsession with him and his blog. Now how effing ignorant is that? <-- rhetorical question.

    So allow me to reiterate the fact that you're at the "not-going-to-be-ignored" and "rabbit-in-the-pot-boiling" stage, and please come to the realization that "Dan" (CW) is not the problem because he won't return your psychotic and obsessive calls.

    Alex Forrest: Well, what am I supposed to do? You won't answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan! ~ Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    But Boehner is no longer speaker of the House and he did evolve on the issue, just as CW is capable of recognizing it is time to evolve on One Demand.

    You are right that CW is not to blame for your obsession with me expressing my opinion and using the points that CW makes in support of other issues to convince him to address One Demand. That message is more for CW if he tires of your complaining.

    There is no one to blame for your obsession but yourself.

    You are the one that is over the deep end. If you need someone to demonize I suggest you stick to demonizing Trump. It's much easier and you don't have to make stuff up and exaggerate.

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    20

    But Boehner is no longer speaker of the House and he did evolve on the issue, just as CW is capable of recognizing it is time to evolve on One Demand.

    You walked right into that one, pal, and you deserve exactly what I'm going to demonstrate to anyone reading this comment. When it suits your narrative, you apparently don't seem to have a problem with a politician being bought by Big Money. You're even gleefully exclaiming that Boehner did "evolve" on an issue. Well, isn't that "special"?

    You are right that CW is not to blame for your obsession with me expressing my opinion and using the points that CW makes in support of other issues to convince him to address One Demand. That message is more for CW if he tires of your complaining.

    If you think CW will tire of me, imagine how he must feel about your whining shit. I am not volunteering to criticize you at random, Don; I simply avail myself of the opportunity to do so at times (but not every time) when you post your repetitive trolling of the author shit. Being that I don't post about your shit unless you post first and I don't respond to all of your posts, perhaps you might clue in to the fact that if you are defining my posts as "obsession," then by your own definition, your posts are more so.

    There is no one to blame for your obsession but yourself.

    Obviously incorrect. If you'd stop posting your trolling of the author bullshit, I obviously would not have to respond to it. Please walk right into that one too. :)

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