Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner allegedly breached a contract with another prospective marijuana lobbying group to form the National Cannabis Roundtable, according to a lawsuit filed last month in Washington DC.
The suit, first reported by the New York Post, alleges that Boehner had signed an agreement in March 2018 to become co-chair of a marijuana legalization group called The 10 Campaign.
But instead, Boehner allegedly used “proprietary strategies” developed by The 10 Campaign to form the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) in early 2019.
Boehner, a Republican, became honorary co-chair of NCR, which is one of the leading marijuana lobbying groups.
The 10 Campaign’s founder and executive director, James Pericola, filed the 38-page lawsuit against Boehner and the Washington D.C.-based law firm Squire Patton Boggs in District of Columbia Superior Court last month.
Boehner joined the public policy team of Squire Patton Boggs in 2016 and became a senior strategic advisor.
Neither Boehner nor the law firm responded to repeated requests by The New York Post for comment about the lawsuit, according to the newspaper.
It was unclear why Pericola took so long to file the suit.
Boehner had been an opponent of marijuana while serving in Congress. So his change of heart in 2018 was seen as a significant milestone in the effort to bring federal marijuana reform into the mainstream of public policy discussions.
Shortly after allegedly signing the agreement with The 10 Campaign, Boehner joined the advisory board of New York-based multistate marijuana operator Acreage Holdings.
The lawsuit claims that Boehner misled the plaintiffs to believe that he and the law firm were advancing the interests of The 10 Campaign when talking to potential funders and clients.
Pericola is seeking damages that include Boehner’s alleged “unjust enrichment” from cannabis-related fees.
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According to the New York Post, Pericola’s attorney estimated those earnings to be in the “seven figures.”
A National Cannabis Roundtable official didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by MJBizDaily.