On Tuesday, Republican voters in my Central California city did something that just a couple of years ago, would have been considered completely out of character for a conservative voting bloc – they marked their ballots to advance cannabis policy.

A great number of them also proudly voted for incumbent Republican Congressman Devin Nunes – convincingly rejecting upstart Democrat challenger Andrew Janz by a solid 12-point margin. While this contentious election in California’s bible belt sometimes pitted neighbor against neighbor, there was one thing the great majority did agree on. Cannabis.

It was an “aha moment” for many conservatives, as they joined the coalition supporting ‘Measure A,’ the city’s cannabis business tax. It passed with 70% of the vote – cruising past the two-thirds threshold required for approval. The majority of voters of all stripes – Democrat, Republican and unaffiliated – would have had to mark ‘yes’ for the measure to have achieved such a high percentage, making it a safe bet that Republicans who voted for Devin Nunes also supported ‘Measure A.’ It’s a big deal, and here’s why:

Fresno is located smack-dab in the middle of the state, and voters have shown a preference for electing conservative-leaning candidates from both political parties. Family values and middle-class sensibilities rule the day here in every demographic. These are the voters who pushed the cannabis tax across the finish line. It’s an indication that the social stigma surrounding cannabis in the United States is evaporating quickly – and that cannabis is being embraced, or at least not outright rejected, by conservatives.

Trusted establishment voices like Fresno’s police and fire chiefs, the Chamber of Commerce and even the Republican mayor signed on as endorsers, representing a monumental shift in our community. Yes, opponents trotted out the familiar moral arguments, but they were countered by the pleas of combat veterans and cancer patients in search of something more than the opioids being offered by their healthcare providers. Veterans, especially, make a compelling argument locally as well as nationwide.

In a November 5th op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Republican former Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner laid out the reasons for his own cannabis conversion. The concern he has for those who have fought for America was a big part of it for him – and rightly so. Boehner writes, “Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot treat service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic pain with any form of medical marijuana.”

He is right. Denying our “best and bravest” medication on moral grounds, thank goodness, is becoming a thing of the past. All of us should be honest about the role cannabis can and does play in their lives and continue to put pressure on elected officials to make it available to them.

As a conservative supporter of cannabis, I’m grateful for Speaker Boehner’s candor. His stance on cannabis is courageous and forward-thinking. As locales like Fresno increasingly see past the outdated stigma surrounding Cannabis, more and more conservative leaders will speak out.

So, can what happened in Fresno be replicated elsewhere? If you think about it, cannabis issues are actually a perfect fit for conservatives. States’ rights, reducing the size and scope of government, and the support of our nation’s veterans are all red-meat issues for Republicans, but they’re also issues that are inextricably tied to the cannabis movement.

As they have done in Fresno, Republicans can and should be leading the way toward legalizing and licensing everywhere in our country. If voters in my conservative California city can change their minds, it’s possible everywhere – even in the halls of Congress – and beyond.

Fresno city council member Clint Olivier is the preeminent municipal Cannabis policy authority in California’s conservative Central Valley.