Former House Speaker John Boehner told CNBC on Friday that U.S. lawmakers are behind the times on cannabis legalization.
“It’s clear this market is going to expand. And as it does, lawmakers in Washington have to look up and realize that the federal government is way out of step,” Boehner said from the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. “It’s time for the federal government to get out of the way.”
Since leaving national politics in 2015, the former Republican leader has joined the board of Acreage Holdings, a publicly traded, multistate cannabis company based in New York. Acreage, though small when compared with major Canadian growers, reported last week fourth-quarter revenue of $10.5 million and full-year sales of $21.1 million, up 173 percent over the last 12 months.
Boehner was joined Friday by Acreage founder and CEO Kevin Murphy, who added that he’s optimistic both Republicans and Democrats will pass the STATES Act in 2019. The act, proposed by Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren, would grant individual states the power to decide whether their residents can legally possess, manufacture and sell cannabis without federal intervention.