Tucker Carlson thinks former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is “disgusting” for being a “marijuana lobbyist.” In an interview with a conservative media outlet on Saturday, the Fox News host blasted Boehner for transitioning from the top lawmaker in Congress to, in the TV talker’s view, making bank at the expense of America’s children.
“John Boehner is like a marijuana lobbyist now, right?” Carlson said. “Waking up every morning taking a paycheck getting your kids to smoke more weed? Why isn’t John Boehner considered disgusting? I consider John Boehner disgusting. Why don’t most Republicans think that? You go from being Speaker of the House to being a weed lobbyist and nobody says anything? Like, that’s totally normal?”
“Really John Boehner—are you making America better, pig? No, you’re not,” Carlson said on Breitbart’s SiriusXM radio show. “You’re making it much, much worse. Ask anyone with teenage children what John Boehner’s doing for America. I’m serious—it’s disgusting.”
But are Carlson’s incendiary comments about the former House Speaker true or false? Firstly, Boehner is not technically a marijuana lobbyist. That job is performed by hardworking activists like those with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, established non-profits such as the Drug Policy Alliance or trade groups like the National Cannabis Industry Association.
Boehner is instead involved in the marijuana industry as a Board member of Acreage Holdings, which runs a chain of cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing businesses in several U.S. states.
Boehner joined Acreage in April 2018 along with former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld (R). It was then that he first publicly endorsed descheduling marijuana. In October of that year, Boehner teamed up with the National Institute for Cannabis Investors to sell exclusive cannabis stock tips, vowing that he was “all in on the cannabis industry,” predicting it could be worth as much as “$1 trillion” in the future.
So is it “disgusting” that Boehner, who when he was in a position to advance reform as House Speaker claimed he was “unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana,” is now profiting from the legal cannabis industry? That’s for you to decide. Carlson is far from the first person to call out the former speaker’s marijuana work, though; this March, cannabis equity activists crashed the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas to protest his keynote presentation.
“It’s hypocritical for an Austin based company like SXSW, a company imbedded in a city that preaches diversity and inclusion, to neglect the work of committing to create an inclusive space, and instead give a keynote platform to John Boehner,” said Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition, at the time. “This is disgusting.”
The SXSW protesters released public demands for reinvestment of cannabis industry profits in communities being damaged by the war on drugs, full funding of social equity programs and cannabis record expungement.
Boehner aside, should Tucker Carlson be trusted as a good faith commentator on ethics and justice in legal cannabis? That’s highly debatable, to say the least. As recently as October, Carlson ranted on his televised show that a marijuana banking bill that passed the House with wide bipartisan support would help “weed dealers” and make voters so high they won’t notice how much politicians are ruining the country.
“Even though marijuana is still illegal federally, the bill would allow banks and credit unions to provide banking services to people who deal marijuana,” he said. “So in the middle of the deadliest drug epidemic in our history, the only thing Congress can agree on is it ought to be easier to sell drugs to Americans.”
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.