Category: Legal News

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Allison presenting at Cannabis Lawyer CLE in SF on 3/30

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Event link

The passage of Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) created an entirely new licensing and regulatory scheme that runs parallel to licensing and regulation of medical cannabis under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). To accurately advise clients in the business, or getting into it, it is important to understand the requirements and differences of both AUMA and MCRSA. This seminar will cover the new requirements of AUMA, the effect on MCRSA businesses, and the advantages and disadvantages of each scheme.

Ethically Representing Cannabis Industry Clients

Representing clients in the cannabis industry presents a unique set of challenges. Attorneys in this field can draw the attention of law enforcement, and therefore must be careful not only of violating ethics rules, but of running afoul of the law. Veteran industry attorney Omar Figueroa will give you tips to help navigate the ethical and legal minefield of giving legal advice to marijuana industry clients.

Program Highlights:

  • Continuing tension between state and federal laws
  • Giving legal advice vs. acting as a business consultant
  • Limitations on involvement
  • Applying the Rules of Professional Conduct

This program is appropriate for all levels. Law area: Business Law; subtopic: Marijuana. Law area: Special Requirements; subtopic: Ethics.

AUMA for Marijuana Businesses

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) created an entirely new licensing and regulatory scheme that runs parallel to licensing and regulation of medical cannabis under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). To accurately advise clients in the business, or those getting into it, it is important to understand the requirements and differences of both AUMA and MCRSA. This seminar will cover the new requirements of AUMA, the effect on MCRSA businesses, and the advantages and disadvantages of each scheme.

Program Highlights:

  • New licensing requirements
  • Differences between MCRSA and AUMA
  • Effects of AUMA on MCRSA businesses
  • Choosing one licensing scheme vs. integrating both
  • Anticipating changes and challenges to the law

This is an intermediate-level program. Some experience with marijuana law is assumed. Law area: Business Law; subtopic: Marijuana.

Zoning and Land Use Regulation of Marijuana Businesses

Although marijuana sales of all kinds are becoming increasingly legal, the logistics of where to grow, manufacture, and sell marijuana products can still be challenging. Local ordinances can severely limit where a cannabis business can be located and what activities can take place. Join Melissa Sánchez for an overview of recent legal developments and a look at the treatment of recreational marijuana businesses, established under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), and medical marijuana entities established under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA).

Program Highlights:

  • AUMA or MCRSA?
  • Zoning Issues
  • Dealing with local ordinances and nuisance laws
  • Lease agreements
  • Landlord issues

This is an intermediate-level program. Some experience with cannabis law is assumed. Law area: Business Law; subtopic: Marijuana. Law area: Real Property; subtopic: Marijuana; subtopic: Land Use, Development, and Environment.

Criminal Prosecution and Defense of Marijuana Businesses

Although criminal prosecution of all marijuana crimes seems to be falling into disfavor, federal prohibition remains and legal gray areas abound. This program will cover recent legal developments and policy changes that might affect the criminal exposure of those in the marijuana industry both under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and prospectively under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Program Highlights:

  • Current Department of Justice policies and priorities
  • Recent case developments
  • Vulnerabilities–tax evasion, money laundering, etc.
  • Effects of AUMA on defending and prosecuting business actors

This is an intermediate-level program. Some experience with cannabis law is assumed. Law area: Business Law; subtopic: Cannabis. Law area: Criminal Law; subtopic: Marijuana.

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Jeff Sessions says fed marijuana approach “more complicated than one RICO case”

The Cannabist Staff
By
MAR 10, 2017, 6:49 PM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week that he wants to enforce federal marijuana laws in an “appropriate way” nationwide and is weighing options such as initiating Supremacy Clause and RICO prosecutions.

Sessions’ latest remarks on marijuana legalization and enforcement came during a radio interview Thursday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Hewitt broached the topic of marijuana by asking Sessions whether he would apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to “end this facade and the flaunting of the Supremacy Clause.”

Sessions responded in the affirmative and reiterated previous remarks about his beliefs about marijuana legalization as well as potential restraints to enforcement, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website:

“We will, marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws,” Sessions said. “So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.

“And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don’t think we’re going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store.”

Asked about whether he could send a message by bringing a RICO case against one retailer, Sessions said the Justice Department is analyzing its options.

“Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that,” he said. “I think it’s a little more complicated than one RICO case, I’ve got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it’s just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it’s also being moved interstate, not just in the home state. … And neighbors (Oklahoma and Nebraska) are complaining, and filed lawsuits against them. So it’s a serious matter, in my opinion.”

To read Sessions’ full interview with Hewitt, visit HughHewitt.com.

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What is the Supremacy Clause and what does it mean for states’ rights to legalize marijuana?

The Cannabist
By MAR 8, 2017, 7:29 AM

When it comes to laying down the law on marijuana, it’s a convoluted dispute.

Amid the renewed attention on state legalization by new Department of Justice leader Jeff Sessions, here’s a refresher.

 

The idea of federal preemption of state law is based on the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), which states that the Constitution “shall be the supreme law of the land.”

The Supremacy Clause’s relations to state-enacted marijuana laws has been addressed in a handful of legal articles, including a UCLA Law Review report from 2015:

“The constitutional question that will determine the outcome of any preemption lawsuit seeking to invalidate state marijuana laws is whether state laws allowing the sale, cultivation, and use of limited amounts of marijuana creates an impermissible “conflict” — as that term has been defined by the Supreme Court — with the (Controlled Substance Act) provisions prohibiting marijuana altogether.”

However, there exists a “significant constitutional counterweight” in the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering doctrine, the authors note and reference a 2009 paper by Vanderbilt Law School professor Robert Mikos titled, “On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime.”

The anti-commandeering principle constrains the preemption power of the government, wrote Mikos, an expert on federalism and drug law.

“That rule stipulates that Congress may not command state legislatures to enact laws nor order state officials to administer them. To be sure, the rule does not limit Congress’s substantive powers but rather only the means by which Congress may pursue them. For example, Congress may designate the sites for new radioactive waste dumps, though it may not order state legislatures to do so; and it may require background checks for gun purchases, though it may not order state law enforcement officials to conduct them. All the same, the anti-commandeering rule constrains Congress’ power to preempt state law in at least one increasingly important circumstance — namely, when state law simply permits private conduct to occur — because preemption of such a law would be tantamount to commandeering.”

A preemption would be unprecedented and, very likely, unsuccessful, Mikos said in an interview with The Cannabist.

“Sessions might prefer that Colorado roll back the clock and go back to 2011, but he can’t do that,” he said.

While the Supremacy Clause has been cited previously in marijuana-related cases — including a January Colorado Supreme Court decision on the asset forfeiture of marijuana and the 2015 Coats vs. Dish Network lawful termination case — there’s not yet been legal precedent involving the relationship between federal preemption and state marijuana laws, drug policy and law experts say.

The Supremacy Clause is referenced in an ongoing consolidated federal appeals court case against Colorado marijuana laws.

“The federal law is crystal clear,” Campbell University law professor Zachary Bolitho said, noting that if state law conflicts with and interferes with the overall goal of the federal government, “the state law should give way.”

When Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in late 2014, the case they presented to the U.S. Supreme Court alleged that an outflow of marijuana from the 420-friendly state created a burden for their law enforcement agencies.

At the time, Bolitho likened the case to legal actions taken in Arizona in 2012. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder successfully argued in Arizona vs. the United States that federal law preempted the southwestern state’s immigration law. In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Bolitho wrote that the same rule should apply in
the states’ marijuana dispute.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Nebraska and Oklahoma’s case and the two states subsequently intervened to join the consolidated preemption/racketeering case that’s pending a final decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Erasing regulation

If the federal government were to win on the grounds of preemption, Mikos argues that it could create a situation where a state would be stripped of its marijuana regulations but not the law allowing for the sale, possession, cultivation and distribution.

“That’s shooting themselves in the foot,” he said. “That’s not going to clamp down on the industry, that’s just going to free this marijuana industry of all those hassles of state law.”

It would be a “legal free-for-all,” said Sam Kamin, who also served as an author of the UCLA Law Review article. Kamin is the Vicente Sederberg professor of marijuana law and policy at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

Kamin said: “You’d end up in a far worse situation if you win that lawsuit than if you lose it. … That sort of lawlessness is exactly what Colorado and the federal government don’t want.”

But other federal actions — be it legal maneuvers or a series of selective raids — could have unintended consequences, said Mark Bolton, the state of Colorado’s acting marijuana adviser.

“My concern would be it’s going to drive producers underground; it’s going to drive consumers to the black market,” he said. “With that, you’re going to see a new wave of dangerous activity.”

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Marijuana Regulation: Measure M Overwhelmingly Approved by Los Angeles Voters

 

A city-sponsored measure giving Los Angeles tools to regulate the recreational and medical marijuana industry was overwhelmingly approved by voters Tuesday night.

Measure M easily bested a competing ballot issue, the initiative Measure N, which was crafted and pushed onto the ballot by a marijuana trade group that later opted to throw its support behind the City Council’s measure.

The measures were placed on the ballot in reaction to California voters in November agreeing to legalize recreational marijuana starting in 2018.

Measure M, which was placed on the ballot by the City Council, will allow the city to repeal a current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries under the previously approved Proposition D and replace it with a new set of rules for different types of marijuana businesses.

[2017 UPDATED 3/3] 2017 Southern California Images in the News

It will give the city tools to enforce its regulations, such as authorizing fines, criminal penalties or loss of power and water service for businesses operating without a license or ignoring city rules.

The measure also allows for gross-receipt taxes to be imposed on marijuana businesses, including the sale of general-use and medical cannabis, delivery services and manufacturing.

“Los Angeles is leading the country and world in responsible and inclusive approaches to legalization,” City Council President Herb Wesson said. “The passing of Proposition M is a great victory for common sense, law enforcement and all Angelenos. We gave communities a voice in the process, and their voices will continue to be heard. This measure is what responsible marijuana laws should look like, and we couldn’t be prouder of our city.”

Measure N called for giving permitting priority to 135 businesses that have been allowed to operate under the Proposition D ban, and also includes taxation and permitting provisions.

But since the city-backed measure also wound up containing a provision to prioritize the Proposition D-immune medical marijuana dispensaries, the group behind Measure N, the UCBA Trade Association, opted to back Measure M.

Virgil Grant, president and co-founder of the Southern California Coalition — a local cannabis industry trade group — said the organization hopes to take Measure M to the county and state levels “so that this comprehensive approach can serve as a model for cities, states and the entire country.”

“This measure is evidence that when we listen and work together, we can solve issues, find common ground and benefit our communities and citizens in the process,” Grant said.

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Virginia Republican introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition

March 2
A freshman Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to fully set their own course on marijuana policy.The bill seeks to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and resolve the existing conflict between federal and state laws over medical or recreational use of the drug. It would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states — it would simply allow states to make their own decisions on marijuana policy without the threat of federal interference.“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” Rep. Thomas Garrett (R) said in a statement. Currently neither the recreational or medical uses of marijuana are allowed in Virginia.The bill does specify that transporting marijuana into states where it is not legal would remain a federal crime.

Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level, meaning the federal government considers the drug to have a “high potential for abuse” and “no medically accepted use.” But more than half the states have set their own policies allowing either medical or recreational use of marijuana.

Garrett’s bill is identical to legislation introduced in 2015 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). That bill didn’t receive any co-sponsors, nor did it get a Senate hearing. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has already signed on to Garrett’s bill, as have Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D.-Colo.).

Law enforcement groups and conservatives have traditionally been among the biggest skeptics of loosening marijuana laws. As a Republican and a former prosecutor, Garrett might seem like an unlikely champion for marijuana reform.

But the freshman lawmaker frames the issue as both about states’ rights, and creating jobs: “This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia,” he said in a statement.

One group that provides data services to the marijuana industry estimates that the legal pot industry could be worth $24 billion by 2020 and create 280,000 jobs. In Colorado alone, marijuana sales topped $1.3 billion last year.

In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration reviewed the federal classification of marijuana and declined to loosen restrictions on the plant.

Congress has shown increasing interest in tackling marijuana policy issues in recent years, to the extent that there is now an official Congressional Cannabis Caucus. But the most significant piece of marijuana legislation coming out of Congress in recent years was a budget rider preventing the Department of Justice from interfering with state-level marijuana laws.

Tom Angell, of the pro-marijuana legalization group Marijuana Majority, said in an email that “while most of our federal gains to date have been through amendments attached to much broader spending bills, I’m hopeful that with the growing number of states changing their laws these stand-alone bills [like Garrett’s] will get enough traction to at least finally start getting hearings.”

The Trump administration has been skeptical of the merits of making the drug legally available. Incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and press secretary Sean Spicer hinted that the administration may crack down on marijuana in some states where it’s now legal.

In introducing the bill, Garrett’s statement tackled that skepticism directly:

“In recent weeks, the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to crack down on federal marijuana crimes,” his office wrote. “During his confirmation, then-Senator Sessions pointed out that if legislators did not like this approach, they should change the laws accordingly.” Garrett anticipates bipartisan support as his legislation makes its way to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.

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California Properties Zoned for Legal Cannabis Are In High Demand

Thankfully, Proposition 64 will change this nonsense. The measure enables businesses to sell both recreational and medicinal cannabis for profit in Cali. Many real estate investors interested in the cannabis industry are trying to get a leg up on the competition by snatching up properties in cities which allow legal weed operations, such as the City of La Mesa. These investors have a particular interest in properties that are zoned for cannabis use.

Naturally, many owners were initially leery to sell properties use as a pot business. Which is completely understandable, as the antiquated, failed war on drugs rages on at the federal level, with no particular end in sight – claiming billions of dollars and countless lives in the process. Fortunately for herb-friendly Californians, though, La Mesa voters helped to change the perception. Once the Measure U ordinance allowing dispensaries to operate was passed, attitudes changed. Money talks.

Even though there really shouldn’t be much of a difference if it’s legal, finding a property for your legal weed business is not as easy as finding one for an average retail location. Zoning laws and nearby locations would be two of the big factors in finding a location. In La Mesa and San Diego, city guidelines force a ‘buffer zone’ between dispensaries.

In early February 2017, the City of La Mesa officially began accepting applications for legal marijuana permits. Some hopeful and perhaps masochistic entrepreneurs were even lining up and camping outside of City Hall to be one of the first to beg permission to sell legal cannabis at a certain location. Of course since it’s government bureaucracy, few good things move quickly when the people want them to – so the approval process could take up to 14 months and recreational won’t be legal until January of 2018. For the remainder of 2017, businesses can only legally operate for medicinal sales.

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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom asks Trump for cooperation with California on marijuana regulation

FEB. 27, 2017, 4:50 P.M.
Patrick McGreevy
LA TIMES

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading supporter of Proposition 64, sent a letter to President Trump on Friday, urging him not to carry through with threats to launch a federal enforcement effort against recreational marijuana firms that will be legalized in California.

The letter, which was copied to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, came a day after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement” against recreational-use marijuana.

Newsom’s letter attempts to persuade the president that a regulated market for adult-use marijuana is preferable to what has existed in the past.

“The war on marijuana has failed,” Newsom wrote. “It did not, and will not, keep marijuana out of kids’ hands.”

Proposition 64, approved by voters last November, allows state residents who are at least 21 years old to grow, transport and possess an ounce of marijuana for recreational use. The state expects to issue licenses to growers and sellers early next year.

“The government must not strip the legal and publicly supported industry of its business and hand it back to drug cartels and criminals,” Newsom wrote to Trump. “Dealers don’t card kids. I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors.”

Newsom also took issue with comments by Spicer likening marijuana to opioids.

“Unlike marijuana, opioids represent an addictive and harmful substance, and I would welcome your administration’s focused efforts on tacking this particular public health crisis,” he wrote.

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Colorado AG invites Jeff Sessions to come visit a recreational marijuana state and “see what we have done”

The Cannabist

By Jesse Paul, The Denver Post
Mar. 1, 2017

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she has invited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a vocal marijuana opponent — and his staff to come and see the state’s recreational pot industry.

Coffman told The Denver Post that the invitation was extended during a meeting Wednesday morning in Washington with Sessions’ top staffers.

“I had a meeting there this morning and told them that I thought it was important to come to the states that have legalized marijuana, particularly Colorado since we have the longest history, and to see what we have done,” Coffman said. “They indicated an interest in doing that.”

Coffman, a Republican, is in Washington for a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. Sessions spoke to the group on Tuesday, saying he believes drugs are driving the majority of crime and again expressing his opposition to legalized marijuana.

“I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana sold at every corner grocery store,” Sessions said. But, while prior attorneys general have used their appearances before their state counterparts to make policy pronouncements, he offered no details about how he intends to enforce federal anti-pot laws.

Colorado’s marijuana industry has been wary about how Sessions and President Donald Trump’s administration view marijuana and could react.

“The overarching sense that I had was that he was making some broad policy statements,” Coffman said of Sessions’ address, saying it lacked specifics about how he plans to address marijuana.

“I don’t think they’ve decided how they are going to approach it or what they might do legally that would be different than the previous administration,” Coffman said. “I just think they are still figuring it out.”

Coffman also told Colorado Public Radio, in response to Sessions’ statements, that: “It sounds like there is room for states to have legalization, but what it seems to portend is the federal government will be at the borders to stop marijuana from crossing state lines.”

The flow of marijuana from Colorado to other states has been a major focus of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the past year or so. The agency has been working with local authorities to clamp down on marijuana being illegally grown in homes for out-of-state distribution, serving search warrants and seizing large quantities of pot.

Coffman said she plans to uphold the state’s marijuana laws if there are federal conflicts, but cautioned there could be instances where her office cannot intervene, such as in cases involving specific businesses or individual marijuana users.

“There may be instances where the state doesn’t need that standing but others will,” Coffman said. “The state can’t probably be the party or the plaintiff in all these cases.”

She added: “It’s my plan to uphold Colorado’s constitution and the laws that have been passed.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, played down the possibility that the Trump administration would take aim at Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry, saying legalization’s inclusion in the state Constitution makes it unclear whether the federal government could shut it down.

“Our voters passed it 55-45. It’s in our constitution,” Hickenlooper told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd.

“You don’t think it’s clear that the federal government could stop you?” Todd asked.

“Exactly,” Hickenlooper replied.


The Associated Press and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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Trump administration signals a possible crackdown on states over marijuana

The White House on Thursday put states that have legalized recreational-use marijuana on notice that federal law enforcement agents could be targeting them soon.

It was the clearest warning yet that the Trump administration may move to disrupt the marijuana trade in the eight states, including California, that have legalized the recreational use of pot.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the administration had no plans to continue the permissive approach of the Obama administration and that it viewed recreational marijuana use as a flagrant violation of federal law.

Spicer’s statement that the Department of Justice could initiate enforcement actions in states that have legalized recreational pot alarmed the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry and set up the administration for yet another confrontation with liberal states.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming around so many states … the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” Spicer told reporters. “There is still a federal law we need to abide by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Asked whether states that have legalized recreational use could be targeted by federal actions, Spicer said, “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement.” He said that while federal law prohibits raids of medical marijuana operations, “that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.”

It has been years since the Drug Enforcement Administration sent agents on busts of pot businesses operating legally under state laws. The Obama administration issued an administrative policy putting a stop to such federal raids, even as it continued to classify the drug as more dangerous than cocaine. Congress further reassured marijuana users in 2014 by banning the DEA from using federal funds to go after medical marijuana operations operating legally under state laws.

To many, the legal recreational pot trade in America has grown so large, routine and socially acceptable that it has become too big to jail.

But the marijuana industry has been on edge since Trump’s election. While the president’s position on the drug has been murky, his appointment of former Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general rattled dispensary owners and growers. Sessions is a longtime crusader in the war on drugs, as is Vice President Mike Pence.

“It looks like the first shoe is dropping as expected,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Trump was never all that reassuring on the issue of marijuana legalization.”

How far the administration would go in provoking states that have legalized pot is unclear. The options range from largely symbolic gestures such as cracking down on the illegal transportation of marijuana between states or initiating a few seizures from dispensaries, to filing injunctions seeking to nullify state legalization laws.

Any such enforcement brings political risk, and could undermine Trump’s positioning as a champion of states’ rights. Spicer’s announcement comes only days after the formation in the House of the first Cannabis Caucus. The founding members are two Democrats and two Republicans, a reminder of the bipartisan appeal of the issue.

“The federal government should stay out of this. Period,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), one of the caucus founders, said as it was launched last week. “I am happy to say that we will butt heads with the attorney general when we have to. We will do our job.” Alaska, a deeply Republican state, is among those that have recently legalized recreational use.

The Trump administration positioned itself to go after recreational pot on the same day a new Quinnipiac poll showed 71% of Americans surveyed are opposed to the kind of enforcement action Spicer suggested is coming. The same poll found 59% of Americans support full legalization of marijuana.

“We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues,” said Derek Peterson, chief executive of the Irvine-based marijuana firm Terra Tech. “The economic impact, job creation and tax collection associated with both medical and recreational legalization have been tremendous throughout the country.”

But he said states should start preparing to fight the administration in court.

“We hope that the states make a point of defending their independence in regards to this and protect their constituents,” he said.

“I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed,” California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said in a statement Thursday. “If there is action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.”

Some, however, take a different view.

“The current situation is unsustainable,” said Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group opposed to legalization. “This isn’t an issue about states’ rights. It’s an issue of public health and safety for communities.”

Halper reported from Washington and McGreevy reported from Sacramento.