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Gov. Brown, Oregon authorities respond to AG Sessions push for federal pot enforcement

FILE--In this Sept. 30, 2016, file photo, a marijuana harvester examines buds going through a trimming machine near Corvallis, Ore. The decision by Oregon voters to approve recreational marijuana was the No. 1 story of 2014 and putting into practice ranked No. 3 last year. It hit the Top 5 again in 2016 as communities grappled with ordinances to regulate the hours of operation and the locations of producers, processors, wholesalers, as well as retailers and medical marijuana grow sites. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Governor Kate Brown is joining law enforcement officials Thursday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a marijuana policy that was lenient on federal enforcement.

Brown was joined by Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, and Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw to talk about the decision.

Shortly before the conference, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Billy J. Williams sent out a statement on the roll back:

“As noted by Attorney General Sessions, today’s memo on marijuana enforcement directs all U.S. Attorneys to use the reasoned exercise of discretion when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana crimes. We will continue working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to pursue shared public safety objectives, with an emphasis on stemming the overproduction of marijuana and the diversion of marijuana out of state, dismantling criminal organizations and thwarting violent crime in our communities.”

Brown has said she intends on fighting AG Sessions’ decision that could affect the ballot measure Oregonians passed in the 2014 midterm election.

She also said the change in stance impacts the 19,000 jobs created by Oregon’s marijuana industry.

“The federal government must keep its promise to states that relied on its guidance,” she said Thursday.

Below is Gov. Brown’s full statement:

"Reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back federal marijuana policy are deeply concerning and disruptive to our state's economy. Over 19,000 jobs have been created by the market Oregon worked carefully to build in good faith and in accordance with the Cole Memorandum. The federal government must keep its promise to states that relied on its guidance.

"States are the laboratories of democracy, where progressive policies are developed and implemented for the benefit of their people. Voters in Oregon were clear when they chose for Oregon to legalize the sale of marijuana and the federal government should not stand in the way of the will of Oregonians.

"My staff and state agencies are working to evaluate reports of the Attorney General's decision and will fight to continue Oregon's commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market."

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