Former California Attorney General Gen. Bill Lockyer is going from enforcing laws against marijuana to legally distributing it under the state’s new rules that allow the sale and possession of the drug for recreational use.

With state-licensed sales of marijuana starting Jan. 1, Lockyer has co-founded a firm, C4 Distro, that will distribute packaged marijuana concentrates and edibles to stores in Los Angeles.

He says California’s new regulated system has a chance to be a model for the rest of the country.

“For me as somebody who was on the law enforcement side for so many years, I saw the inadequacies of the effort to regulate something just by calling it illegal,” Lockyer said. “I think legalizing will help stabilize and help legitimize this industry and result in better consumer protection and other public benefits.”

Lockyer, a Democrat who also served in the state Assembly and was leader of the state Senate, started the company with Eric Spitz, who was chairman and president of the former parent company of the Orange County Register.

The businessmen aim to get their products to shops in L.A. in late January or early February, Spitz said.

Asked if he uses marijuana himself, Lockyer, 76, said, “Not in any recent times, but there were college years.”

He said he sees his involvement in the marijuana industry as a mixture of helping to pay for his children’s college tuition and public service to help the new regulations work. “This whole industry has to come from the dark side to the light,” he said.

By focusing on delivery to as many as 700 stores that might open in Los Angeles, C4 Distro hopes to capture a targeted market while other companies distribute statewide. The business has a warehouse in southeast Los Angeles County and is close to applying for a distributor’s license from the state, Lockyer said.

Lockyer was in the state Legislature for 25 years before he was elected attorney general in 1999. He left that office in 2007 when he was elected state treasurer, a post he held until retiring from politics in 2015.

Before co-leading a group that bought the Register newspaper in 2012, Spitz served as chief financial officer at Narragansett Brewing Company. Spitz left the Register’s Freedom Communications in 2016.