John Boehner Accused of Stealing Cannabis Group Intellectual Property

Former US House Speaker turned cannabis industry lobbyist John Boehner is accused in a lawsuit of stealing data and talking points from another cannabis advocacy company before back out of a deal to join the group, according to a New York Post report. Boehner had signed a deal to become co-chair of Campaign 10 in 2018, but the following year launched his own group – the National Roundtable on Cannabis – and Campaign 10 alleges that Boehner “repackaged” the talking points of the group like his.

“Boehner served to legitimize the industry…and paved the way for other politicians, elected officials and influencers to come to the table after years of opposing cannabis legislation. And he did it by intentionally deceiving [10 Campaign Co-Founder James] Pericola.

In April 2018, Boehner said his “thinking has evolved” on cannabis despite his opposition to reforms in Congress. In 1999, two years before he led the lower house, he voted against a bill to implement a voter-approved medical cannabis program in Washington, D.C. In 2004, Boehner, a Republican, received a score of 0% by the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform, indicating an “anti-legalization stance.” Two years later he was rated -30 by the rights organization – indicating a ‘drug-hard’ stance. A -30 is the lowest score a legislator can receive.

The lawsuit argues that in 2018, Pericola approached Boehner aides and Squire Patton Boggs after Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the Cole memorandum and Pericola viewed the former speaker as the right man to normalize cannabis — with his cigar habit and conservative base. Pericola then sent exclusive documents to Boehner and the two parties signed nondisclosure agreements. The lawsuit alleges that Boehner used these documents to launch the National Cannabis Roundtable.

“I didn’t take this decision lightly and realize that we are facing Goliath, but the truth matters and we look forward to our day in court.” – Pericola at the post office

The lawsuit argues that Boehner, who joined Acreage Holdings’ board of directors in 2018, lived the “high life” and made millions from fees associated with his cannabis transactions, although the extent of his cannabis-related income is unclear.

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