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

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at an event in Los Angeles last year. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at an event in Los Angeles last year. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)

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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