(NBC News) Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Obama-era policy shielding state-legalized marijuana from federal prosecution.

The Justice Department described the move as a “return to the rule of law to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis and thwart violent crime.”

California’s Lt. Governor called Session’s move an “ideological temper tantrum” and Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner threatened to hold Justice Department nominees until the decision is reversed.

“There needs to be an explanation to the people within the industry to the people of colorado who voted for legalization and to understand exactly why the department of justice went back on its word,” said Senator Gardner.

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Marijuana advocates believe the political fallout will stretch into the 2018 elections, but those who applaud the attorney general’s move say it is key to regulating an industry they believe causes more harm than good.

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