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Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy

Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherMidterms in 2018 become most expensive in history Dems target small cluster of states in battle for House GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE (R-Calif.) is sharply criticizing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE's decision to allow federal prosecutors to target marijuana users in states where use of the drug is legal.

In the Thursday statement on his website, Rohrabacher ripped Sessions for the decision, which the lawmaker warns will only hurt GOP chances at the ballot box during November's midterm elections.

"The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels. By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself," Rohrabacher said in his statement.

"By taking this benighted minority position, he actually places Republicans’ electoral fortunes in jeopardy," he added.

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The California lawmaker's statement came after Sessions earlier Thursday rescinded orders that directed federal prosecutors to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases in states where the drug is legal. Recreational marijuana, already a booming industry, became legal in Rohrabacher's home state earlier this week.

Republicans including Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPoll: Palin unpopular in Alaska following jab at Murkowski Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Ex-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party MORE (Alaska) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' MORE (Colo.) have joined Democrats in denouncing Sessions's move.

Rohrabacher also noted that Sessions's decision appeared to contradict President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE's campaign pledge to allow states to determine their own marijuana policy.

Trump told a local news station in July of 2016 that he wouldn't support using the federal government to "shut down" recreational marijuana at the state level in places where it is legal.

"I wouldn’t do that … I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely," Trump said at the time.

"By attacking the clear will of the American people, the attorney general contradicts President Trump’s campaign pledges to leave medical and recreational marijuana questions for the states to decide," Rohrabacher said Thursday.

Sessions's announcement Thursday threw the recreational marijuana industry into chaos and prompted a wave of backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.