It's easy to get lost in some of the big numbers that get thrown around when it comes to legal marijuana sales. Colorado hit $1 billion in eight months last year. Medical marijuana sales in California last year topped $2 billion. And with the recent launch of legal recreational cannabis sales in that state, sales are expected jump to $5 billion this year.
But lost in those boggling figures is a different reality. The vast majority of operations in the legal cannabis field are small businesses. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to end an Obama-era policy that let legal marijuana flourish could have big repercussions on those mom and pops.
"No question; this is going to have a direct impact on small businesses in the cannabis space," says Glenn Ballman, CEO of Duber Technologies, a SaaS company that services the industry, and a cannabis policy expert.
Sessions on Thursday repealed what's known as the Cole memo, a document that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal. In a one-page memo, he directed federal prosecutors to use their discretion in deciding whether to bring charges against distributors, growers and processors, considering the seriousness of the crime and its impact on the community.