Nicola Hanna

Nicola Hanna

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has named Orange County lawyer Nicola Hanna as interim U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, which encompasses Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Hanna, a partner in the Irvine and Los Angeles offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, will have a 120-day term limit or until the Senate confirms a nominee set forth by President Donald Trump.

Hanna was among 17 interim U.S. attorneys introduced today in districts across the country.

His specialization is complex criminal, SEC, and regulatory enforcement matters. Hanna has represented individuals and corporations in a variety of cases, including alleged health care fraud, securities fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, insider trading and environmental crimes.

He has conducted investigations throughout the world, including Argentina, China, Colombia, Dubai/UAE, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, and Venezuela, according to his profile on Gibson, Dunn’s website.

Hanna’s designation carries some added weight in California, which legalized recreational marijuana use on Jan. 1.

The world’s largest cannabis market could be in line for another shakeup as Sessions issued a memo today to U.S. attorneys rescinding several Obama-era directives that discouraged federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states regulating the plant for recreational and medicinal purposes.

The new directives muddle an already murky regulatory environment for marijuana, which is prohibited by federal law but legal in eight states and Washington D.C., where roughly 20% of the nation’s population reside.

At least 12 states will consider legalizing recreational marijuana this year, potentially setting up a showdown between the feds and state legislatures.