Just weeks after Californians voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana, State Treasurer John Chiang on Friday appointed a working group to figure out how to address problems caused by the unwillingness of federally regulated banks to handle money from pot businesses.
Chiang also sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump and members of California’s congressional delegation seeking guidance in finding a solution.
Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law, and banks regulated by the U.S. government have refused to provide financial services to cannabis-related firms.
Appearing on MSNBC, Becerra was coy when asked whether he would rule out campaigns for governor or U.S. Senate in 2018.
"I'll be gratified if I can make sure I can get confirmed to be the next attorney general," Becerra said, sidestepping the question. "Right now I'm thrilled that the governor would put this confidence in me to be the next AG."
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Thursday lauded the appointment of Rep. Xavier Becerra as state attorney general, while a source close to the Senate leader said he has no plans to run for Becerra’s congressional seat when it is vacated.
"He is a leader of courage, compassion and keen legal intellect," De León said in a statement Thursday in reaction to the appointment of his fellow Los Angeles Democrat to the post.
“This is also the perfect matching of man and moment, given that California's prosperity and people are currently under threat by a hostile Trump administration,” De León added. “Xavier will serve as a guardian of the Constitution and an ultimate check and balance against the forces of division and scapegoating that are mobilizing in Washington.”
Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra to be the next attorney general of California. Becerra would be the state's first Latino attorney general, if confirmed.
Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) to be the next attorney general of California. He will succeed Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.
Becerra, 58, has served 12 terms in Congress and was making a bid to become the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee when Brown called him unexpectedly to offer the job.
"It's a phenomenal opportunity," Becerra said. "It means I get to be home a lot more."