Jeff Sessions’ decision to repeal the Cole memo was sure to have far-flung implications in the booming cannabis industry. The 2013 Obama-era memo basically stated that the federal government would not intervene with individual states legalizing marijuana if they took measures to avoid illegal cannabis entering the legal market. This decision dominated the recent news cycle and Glenn Ballman, CEO of düber Technologies Inc., provided his expertise across a range of media.
NBC spoke with Glenn in Jon Schuppe’s article about the potential slowdown of the cannabis industry. Sessions’ recent reversal means the federal cannabis laws could be enforced and that’s left the industry spinning. Glenn acknowledged that the cannabis market was anticipating a move like this ever since Sessions was named Attorney General. He cited the fresh instability and uncertainty in the cannabis industry that last week’s firestorm invoked, and concern about how smaller players will succeed.
CNBC’s Chris Morris also posits that Sessions’ move might spell war on small business. Thing is, most businesses in the legal cannabis industry are small. That adds up to concern for Glenn who sees new challenges in basic retail issues plus investment, research and development.
“You’ll see labs not reinvest in better equipment for testing. You’ll see producers cut back on expansion plans. And you’ll see processors that are buying equipment to make cookies, edibles and drinks start to cut back as well,” Glenn adds.
That means possible personal legal risk, “If Sessions pushes it back into the realm of mass incarceration.” The idea is chilling, yet Glenn remains optimistic, sensing that cannabis businesses won’t close pre-emptively to avoid legal prosecution. He knows this has long been the landscape for those in the industry. “The people who run shops today are very much of a generation that fought to get [cannabis] medically licensed. They also fought to get it recreationally legalized. I see them as a generation of fighters.”
Entrepreneur was listening to Glenn too, as part of their thought piece on the Sessions’ decision. The article draws on a wide range of opinions from the cannabis sector, with some suggesting the rescindment might ultimately strengthen the budding industry. This means that a temporary cooling period will be followed by the industry reaching for higher levels of compliance and responsibility. This could lead to stability and sustainability.
Glenn weighed in on concerns about the current instability: “Ultimately things will have to normalize or the retailers will start to fail en masse… but by that time national brands will dominate and the hedge funds will be rolling up retailers and processors and producers - consolidating supply and following the normal trends that every new industry experiences.”
His confidence holds strong as he acknowledged that entrepreneurs familiar this life cycle will continue to see opportunities at every level. No matter the size or scope of the player, Glenn adds, “The opportunities to become involved in the supply chain are too numerous to count.”
The firestorm resulting from Sessions’ announcement plays into the reason düber exists – the lack of regulator inspection at the retail, processor and producer level plus the imperative for inventory to be accurate, monitored and inspected. Once the Regulators start inspecting – stand-alone technology solutions will not survive, and retail platforms will need to be built to meet audit level inspections.