Former House Speaker Says Marijuana Could Be Worth One Trillion Dollars

image of a paper marijuana leaf cut out of a dollar bill

BALTIMORE — Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner says that the marijuana industry could be worth one trillion dollars per year, according to the National Institute for Cannabis Investors.

The former House Speaker joined the board of a marijuana company last April and is now pitching to the public about investing in marijuana. Boehner joined the board of Acreage Holdings, a cannabis company that cultivates and distributes marijuana in several states.

Boehner had been an opponent to marijuana legalization but has since evolved with his thinking. The retired GOP speaker attributed his change of heart to the need for more medical research on marijuana to combat the opioid crisis and to help military veterans.

Marijuana is an effective treatment for opioid addiction and can help to repair the tissue damage done to the brain by long-term opiate use. "I got into looking into medical benefits of cannabis and it’s really pretty incredible," said Boehner.

Marijuana can also decrease the withdrawal symptoms that come as a result of stopping the use of opioids; the state of New York added opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana earlier this year. Marijuana is also an effective treatment for PTSD and pain, two conditions that many of our veterans suffer from.

Boehner had previously said that legalizing marijuana would lead to increased substance and alcohol abuse and had no medicinal value. He changed his mind after a former Navy SEAL told him that his migraines ceased after using cannabis. "That's when I realized I was wrong," said Boehner.

Marijuana Legalization is Only a Matter of Time 

Boehner said in a webcast for the National Institute for Cannabis Investors on Oct. 23 that now is the time for investing in marijuana.

The former lawmaker said the conservatives on Capitol Hill are also changing their minds about marijuana, noting that the drug would eventually be fully legal in all states and that it was only a matter of time. "I'm all in. This is the time to go all in on cannabis," Boehner concluded.

At least 62 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. Forty-six states plus Washington, D.C. have either legalized recreational marijuana, CBD, or medical marijuana, and politicians have begun embracing marijuana legalization or advocating for the decriminalization of the drug.

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are in support of legalizing marijuana, and the Republican Party of Texas has endorsed decriminalizing marijuana for the legislative session in 2019.

Boehner says that billion-dollar cannabis companies are ripe for the picking but also notes that people shouldn't invest in weed before doing their homework. In addition to being a board member for Acreage Holdings, the retired lawmaker is also an advisor with the international law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

The legal marijuana industry is expected to earn at least $15.7 billion by 2022.