Federal prosecutors nationwide will now decide how to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where their use is legal.
"Today, Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration have destructively duplicated the policy of criminalizing failed, costly and racially discriminatory marijuana, trampling the will" of voters, said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement.
Newsom said that Sessions' move "contradicts the overwhelming public opinion of the vast majority of Americans, who support the legalization of marijuana."
"I ask our federal leaders to act quickly to protect the rights of states from the harmful effects of this ideological tantrum by Jeff Sessions," said Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco.
Colorado officials were shocked by the announcement, said state attorney general Cynthia H. Coffman. .
"I will say there was no warning about this guide, we had no idea it was coming, and like you, we woke up this morning to the news that there was a new address for Attorney General Sessions," Coffman said.
She said that there are many state authorities that still do not know the implementation priorities of the Department of Justice and how it plans to implement the new memo.
But Coffman said he does not foresee a major change in Colorado in the current application and regulation of marijuana.
"We will continue as a state to exercise our right as a sovereign state to control what happens on our borders with respect to the regulation and application of marijuana," he said.
Govt. Kate Brown said the marijuana market had created about 19,000 jobs.
"Reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will revoke the federal policy on marijuana are deeply troubling and detrimental to our state's economy," he said.
Brown said that "the federal government should not hamper the will of the people of Oregon."  Brown said his staff and state agencies "will fight to continue Oregon's commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market."
State of Washington
Govt. Jay Inslee said in a statement that he was "especially frustrated" by reports that the "Cole memo" would be rescinded. Inslee said he called it "the wrong address for our state."
"It is also disrespectful to Washington voters who have chosen a different path for our state," he said.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was "disappointed and worried" about the news.
Over the past year, Sessions demonstrated an amazing lack of knowledge about our state's marijuana laws, "said Ferguson.
Devon Sayers, Chris Boyette, Carma Hassan, Artemis Moshtaghian, Laura Jarrett, and Ryan CNN's Struyk contributed to this report.