Former US House Speaker John Boehner to promote legalizing marijuana

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner says he has had a change of heart on marijuana and will promote its nationwide legalization.

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Known as an avid cigarette smoker, the Ohio Republican has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings , a multistate cannabis company. The company also announced that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has joined its advisory board.

Boehner says in a statement his position "has evolved" from opposition to legalizing marijuana. He says he believes legalizing marijuana can be helpful to the nation's veterans and as a way to help fight the U.S. opioid drug crisis. He wants to see federally funded research done and to allow Veterans Affairs to offer marijuana as a treatment option.

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Boehner also says the move would curtail federal-state conflict on marijuana policies.

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