California's Democratic attorney general says his office will vigorously enforce the state's new recreational marijuana law despite the threat of a federal crackdown.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday criticized U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to end a policy directing federal authorities to take a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement.

He says California voters decided it is best to regulate rather than criminalize cannabis. He says Californians "embrace, not fear, change."

Becerra says the state's Department of Justice will do what it can to protect California's interests.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, another Democrat, is vacationing in Mexico and did not immediately comment.

Sessions' decision comes three days after California became the largest state to legalize sales of recreational pot. Voters approved the law in 2016.