President Barack Obama likely won’t take any unilateral action on marijuana reform this year, despite hopes from many advocates that he would attempt to reschedule cannabis or issue an executive order on banking or the tax code to help the industry.
“There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action,” White House press secretary John Earnest said on Friday, according to the Washington Post. “The president’s response was, ‘If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you’re advocating, then why don’t you pass legislation about it and we’ll see what happens.'”
Earnest’s comments put to rest any hopes that cannabis reformers may have harbored for Obama’s last year in office, as the president seems to be placing the entire onus for future change on Congress and the states.
Federal lawmakers have introduced multiple bills in recent years to bolster MMJ research and open banking access to cannabis businesses. One bill sponsored by Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders would even repeal the federal ban on marijuana.