Former House Speaker Boehner gets behind marijuana lobbying group

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Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner announced a new, industry-funded group to lobby for marijuana reform in banking, taxes and research, a move that will put a political heavyweight behind the MJ industry’s efforts to overhaul federal cannabis policy.

The National Cannabis Roundtable will consist of members representing all aspects of the industry, including growers, processors, retailers, investors and entrepreneurs, Boehner told reporters.

The lobbying group will represent cannabis businesses in 23 states and the District of Columbia, Axios and The (Cincinnati) Enquirer reported.

“As the cannabis industry grows and matures, it’s vital that we work together for a common-sense legal framework for cannabis policy,” Boehner said in a news release.

He will advise the group and serve as an honorary chair, but he will not work as a registered lobbyist.

Boehner, a Republican, is a former marijuana opponent who had a change of heart, last year joining the advisory board of New York-based multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings.

Since then, Boehner has been outspoken about how the federal government shouldn’t interfere with state-legal businesses.

Acreage will be among the National Cannabis Roundtable’s clients, according to The Enquirer.

The roundtable comes at a time when several different groups are going hard at federal reform.

Recent developments include:

  • The Cannabis Trade Federation, formed last year, hired 15 lobbyists for an all-out press at passing the STATES (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States) Act – legislation that would allow states to develop their own marijuana policies without federal interference.
  • The National Cannabis Industry Association is throwing its weight behind legislation that would enable legal cannabis businesses to have access to banking services without fear of repercussion. The industry group is collecting written testimony in advance of a hearing on a draft marijuana banking reform bill Feb. 13 held by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.
  • Attorney General nominee William Barr has pledged a hands-off policy toward state-legal marijuana businesses. While Barr remains an opponent of marijuana legalization, he wants the disparity between state and federal laws to be resolved.