A former GOP congressman with a lengthy track record of opposing marijuana legalization efforts is now cashing in on the legal cannabis market.

FSD Pharma, a Canadian corporation that is a licensed producer of “pharmaceutical grade cannabis” by means of its subsidiary FV Pharma and researches cannabinoid-primarily based therapies, announced on Friday that former Rep. Steve Purchaser (R-IN) joined its board of directors. Missing from the press release is mention of his legislative history that involves repeated actions to oppose federal protections for state-level marijuana reforms.

From 1998 to 2000, Purchaser cosponsored two resolutions and one particular bill aimed at condemning legalization and upholding federal prohibition. His opposition extended to restricted health-related cannabis reforms, also, voting 5 instances from 2003 to 2007 against an amendment to safeguard state laws and the sufferers and providers complying with them from federal prosecution.

A single of the anti-marijuana resolutions he signed onto passed the Home but did not advance in the Senate. As introduced, it characterized cannabis as “both unsafe and addictive” and stated that “Congress is unequivocally opposed to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, and urges the defeat of State initiatives that would seek to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.”

The version that passed, which Purchaser voted for, expressed issues that “ambiguous cultural messages about marijuana use are contributing to a increasing acceptance of marijuana use amongst kids and teenagers” and noting that federal authorities can enforce prohibition “through seizure and other civil action, as nicely as by means of criminal penalties.”

The separate bill he cosponsored sought to declare state laws that enable cannabis use as “null and void.”

“[I]t is the intent of the Congress to supersede any and all laws of the States and units of nearby government insofar as they might now or hereafter properly permit or purport to authorize the use, increasing, manufacture, distribution, or importation by an person or group of marijuana or any controlled substance which differs from the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act or regulations issued  pursuant thereto,” it study.

It is not fairly clear what changed for Purchaser, but his appointment to the board of a main marijuana corporation that has benefitted from the profitable reform movement he opposed is certain to raise inquiries.

In response to Marijuana Moment’s query about what accounted for the former congressman’s evolution on the concern, FSD Pharma President Zeeshan Saeed just replied, “3M selections as all other Directors and $40k money comp.”

Hours later, Saeed clarified that he intended to send that reply to yet another journalist.

Raza Bokhari, executive co-chairman and CEO of FSD Pharma, mentioned in a subsequent e-mail that he’s identified Purchaser for years and believes that though he “remains opposed to recreational use of cannabis,” he “has come to recognize the prospective of cannabinoid molecule in drug improvement targeting auto-immune illnesses, specially the part of synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabinoids targeting the endocannibinoid method of the human physique.”

The former congressman has been on “a really private journey, with his wife getting plagued with an auto-immune illness that has no remedy and other individuals in her household also that endure from auto-immune illnesses,” Bokhari mentioned.

He added that Purchaser has personally invested a quarter of a million dollars in the corporation and compared him to former Home Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who also joined the marijuana market just after opposing cannabis reform though serving in Congress.

In a press release announcing the appointment, Purchaser mentioned the “opportunity to participate in FSD’s development at this stage is exciting” and that he’s “attracted by FSD’s health-related analysis to tame and define the unknown by difficult the edges of health-related science to deliver relief to folks suffering from fibromyalgia and other critical illnesses.”

A single market that the former congressman’s actions did help though in workplace and later went on to operate for as a lobbyist is Huge Tobacco. Purchaser raised eyebrows in 2009 when he opposed legislation to regulate the tobacco market and argued in a Home floor speech that a individual is just as most likely to practical experience the well being consequences of cigarettes if they have been to smoke dried lettuce or grass. He insisted that it is “smoke that kills, not the nicotine.”

Shortly just after retiring, Purchaser joined tobacco corporation Reynolds American as a lobbyist and paid consultant.

There have been a number of reports that noted Buyer’s selection not to run for reelection in 2010 came amid controversy more than a foundation he founded. The Frontier Foundation was supposed to deliver educational funding for students, but though it raked in tens of thousands from pharmaceutical interests such as Ely Lilly and PhRMA more than a 3-year period, it reportedly hadn’t distributed a single scholarship.

His retirement came months just after USA Now and the Indianapolis Star reported on the foundation’s activities.

But now, Purchaser is getting into the cannabis space, and the corporation described his practical experience in the pharmaceutical market and Congress as an asset.

“In welcoming Steve Purchaser to the FSD Pharma Board of Directors and announcing a share consolidation, the Enterprise has produced an immense constructive stride forward” FSD Pharma CEO Raza Bokhari mentioned. “Steve’s addition has additional strengthened the independence and profile of the FSD Pharma Board of Directors his broad leadership practical experience and pharmaceutical market relationships will support improve our visibility, specially amongst U.S. Institutional investors and on U.S. Capitol Hill.”

Purchaser also previously served as a specific assistant U.S. lawyer and an Indiana deputy lawyer common.

This story has been updated to contain more comment from FSD Pharma’s CEO. 

Inside Mitch McConnell’s Private Lunch Meeting With The Marijuana Market

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

Marijuana Moment is produced feasible with assistance from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to keep informed, please look at a month-to-month Patreon pledge.