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

FSD Pharma, a Canadian enterprise that is a licensed producer of “pharmaceutical grade cannabis” by way 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 contains 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 healthcare cannabis reforms, also, voting 5 occasions 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 Property but did not advance in the Senate. As introduced, it characterized cannabis as “both harmful 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 developing acceptance of marijuana use amongst youngsters and teenagers” and noting that federal authorities can enforce prohibition “through seizure and other civil action, as effectively as by way 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 neighborhood government insofar as they could now or hereafter successfully permit or purport to authorize the use, developing, 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 pretty clear what changed for Purchaser, but his appointment to the board of a big marijuana enterprise that has benefitted from the thriving reform movement he opposed is positive to raise inquiries.

In response to Marijuana Moment’s query about what accounted for the former congressman’s evolution on the problem, FSD Pharma President Zeeshan Saeed just replied, “3M solutions 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, stated in a subsequent e mail that he’s identified Purchaser for years and believes that although he “remains opposed to recreational use of cannabis,” he “has come to recognize the possible of cannabinoid molecule in drug improvement targeting auto-immune illnesses, specifically the function of synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabinoids targeting the endocannibinoid method of the human physique.”

The former congressman has been on “a really individual journey, with his wife becoming plagued with an auto-immune illness that has no remedy and other folks in her loved ones also that endure from auto-immune illnesses,” Bokhari stated.

He added that Purchaser has personally invested a quarter of a million dollars in the enterprise and compared him to former Property Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who also joined the marijuana business soon after opposing cannabis reform although serving in Congress.

In a press release announcing the appointment, Purchaser stated the “opportunity to participate in FSD’s development at this stage is exciting” and that he’s “attracted by FSD’s healthcare investigation to tame and define the unknown by difficult the edges of healthcare science to give relief to folks suffering from fibromyalgia and other severe illnesses.”

A single business that the former congressman’s actions did help although in workplace and later went on to operate for as a lobbyist is Massive Tobacco. Purchaser raised eyebrows in 2009 when he opposed legislation to regulate the tobacco business and argued in a Property floor speech that a individual is just as probably to practical experience the overall health consequences of cigarettes if they had been to smoke dried lettuce or grass. He insisted that it is “smoke that kills, not the nicotine.”

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

There have been quite a few reports that noted Buyer’s choice not to run for reelection in 2010 came amid controversy more than a foundation he founded. The Frontier Foundation was supposed to give educational funding for students, but although 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 soon after USA These days and the Indianapolis Star reported on the foundation’s activities.

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

“In welcoming Steve Purchaser to the FSD Pharma Board of Directors and announcing a share consolidation, the Corporation has produced an immense good stride forward” FSD Pharma CEO Raza Bokhari stated. “Steve’s addition has additional strengthened the independence and profile of the FSD Pharma Board of Directors his broad leadership practical experience and pharmaceutical business relationships will support boost our visibility, specifically 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 extra comment from FSD Pharma’s CEO. 

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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