As the cannabis legalization movement moves more mainstream, and the industry become more profitable, we shouldn’t be surprised to see former policymakers and elected officials join the business sector. Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has been the most prominent American politician to enter the industry while Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, remains the most high-profile global politico. Boehner now has company as former United States Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, has joined the board of an international cannabis investment firm, along with former representative Joseph Crowley, fresh off of his primary loss to rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as The Hill reports:
Former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) have been named to the advisory board of Northern Swan Holdings, an investment firm.
Northern Swan is focused on investments in the cannabis industry internationally and on positive change to the industry overall. It is based in Colombia.
“Senator Daschle is a pre-eminent expert in health and wellness whose experience in healthcare policy reform will be invaluable to our company’s expansion in the global medical cannabis market,” Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Northern Swan, told Yahoo.
On one hand, is is very promising for the cause that former politicians are joining the industry as this will only help end cannabis prohibition sooner. However, since these former officials are representing specific businesses, is it understandable to assume that they represent the interests of those that pay him and not the industry at large, thus we have to work hard to ensure that the new laws passed don’t set up monopolies and oligopolies that cut out competition, hurting consumers, patients, and small businesses.
As Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angell notes, these politicians may not have the best record of helping the cannabis community when they were in positions of power to do so, unlike folks like Dana Rohrabacher and Earl Blumenauer who have been leaders on the issue (and have spoken at International Cannabis Business Conference events):
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle & former Rep. Joe Crowley just joined a cannabis company’s advisory board.
Crowley, in 20 years in Congress, cosponsored a single marijuana reform bill, last year. (@AOC)
Daschle, in 26 years, never once put his name on a cannabis bill. pic.twitter.com/HrNzdhdgrM
— Tom Angell 🆀🍀 (@tomangell) May 20, 2019
While we probably don’t want to discourage former officials from lobbying their friends in power to end cannabis prohibition, we will certainly need to remain vigilant that fair policies (or as fair as possible) are being enacted in the future. In the meantime, it is great to see that legalization is moving forward step by step.
To learn the latest and network with top investors and entrepreneurs from around the world, the International Cannabis Business Conference is THE industry B2B event to attend. Next up: Vancouver, Canada, this September 15-16. Get your early-bird tickets by August 21st to save.