California gov appoints cannabis industry ally as state’s attorney general

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The California cannabis industry is rejoicing over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s choice of Assemblyman Rob Bonta as state attorney general.

“Bonta has tackled some of the major cannabis issues in the state, advocating for workers, patients and cannabis operators,” the United Cannabis Business Association said in a congratulatory news release.

“As California Attorney General, he will be aware of the current problems that face cannabis operators due to the illicit market and will find reasonable solutions. We look forward to his continued leadership on cannabis policy in his new role.”

If confirmed, Bonta will replace Xavier Becerra, whom President Joe Biden chose to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As California’s AG, Becerra has not been an ally of the state’s marijuana businesses.

Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, has long been one of the leading cannabis-reform advocates among state lawmakers.

He was one of the principal authors in 2015 of California’s statewide medical marijuana regulatory system, and he ran bills in the Legislature for three straight years – 2018-20 – in attempts to lower state cannabis tax rates.

All of that gives cannabis industry insiders good reason to believe they will have a staunch ally in the attorney general’s office once Bonta is confirmed.

“I’m super happy about this. He’s one of us,” one industry insider wrote in a Facebook post about Bonta’s appointment.