The cannabis industry has found some unlikely support in two prominent Republicans this week. While the Justice Department under Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a lot of talk about harshening the federal stance toward state-legalized cannabis programs, a couple of other top Republican politicos are making surprising maneuvers to aid the marijuana industry.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 on Thursday, a bill which intends to make the federal legalization of hemp clear in order to make it easier to legalize it within states, allow hemp farmers to acquire insurance on their crops, and increase research into the crop.
“The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis,” the bill reads, according to The Cannabist.
“By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the country,” McConnell said in a statement.
And earlier this week John Boehner, the Republican congressman and former Speaker of the House joined the advisory board of an interstate cannabis company. Acreage Holdings has its hands in marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensaries in 11 states, according to Bloomberg.
The move is a surprising about face for the regulator who nine years ago said he was “unalterably opposed” to cannabis legalization. But it seems the former speaker’s stance has softened. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” he said in an interview. “I find myself in that same position.”
Boehner also said that he’s never personally tried the stuff, but maybe that could change too.