A Year to Remember

Departments - From the Editor

Cannabis businesses continued to move forward in 2020, even in the face of the most unpredictable challenges.

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January 4, 2021

As this issue goes to press, 2020 is coming to an end. This traditionally is a time for reflection, when people take stock of the previous 12 months before moving forward into the new year. However, many have said that they are relieved this unimaginable year is over and ready to put what has been an unprecedented and devastating period behind them. But it’s also important to remember how we navigated historic challenges and got through it.

Right now, it's the middle of December, and the team at Cannabis Business Times is looking back, compiling roundups of the top articles of 2020 and writing about the most significant industry news and trends, which you can read here. And although CBT covered the coronavirus pandemic and how essential cannabis companies could pivot—and those important articles were widely read—they were not among the top 10 for the year.

And that’s because there were other stories to tell and information you needed. Because your business continued to move forward, even in the face of the most unpredictable challenges. Companies innovated, new markets launched, and advocacy groups collected enough signatures to put legalization initiatives in front of voters despite the seemingly insurmountable hurdles in their way.

2020’s top story came from longtime CBT columnist and editorial advisory board member Kenneth Morrow, who wrote about the complicated matter of drying and curing cannabis at scale and how cultivators can produce quality products while being efficient. You can read Morrow’s column in this issue here. The team of researchers, led by Dr. Brian Whipker, Ph.D., from North Carolina State University, also wrote one of the most-read articles of the year, which detailed how to diagnose and prevent white mold in cannabis. And check out the team’s first article of 2021 here.

This issue’s cover story profiles a company that launched in July 2020—right in the middle of the pandemic—but that is not the significant storyline of the Harbor Farmz article, written by Digital Editor Eric Sandy. Instead, Sandy spotlights how the Michigan cultivator realized its lofty goals, including developing a tissue culture lab out the gate, and other innovations CEO Michael Ward has helped lead to drive efficiency and meet rigorous production deadlines.

And Ward, like other cannabis entrepreneurs, is doing this without the typical access to capital, tax credits and other supports afforded to businesses in other industries. As Cresco Labs’ CEO and co-founder Charlie Bachtell notes in CBT’s new “The Last Word” department, “This industry is truly being built with one to one-and-a-half hands behind its back.” Bachtell was reflecting on the significance of the U.S. House voting to approve the MORE Act, which would deschedule cannabis and potentially open up access to capital and nullify 280E.

Although most agree the bill’s chances in the Senate are slim, Bachtell noted the importance of pausing to appreciate the moment and reflect on the momentum the industry has experienced this year, that will likely continue in 2021. “The fact that you’ve got, for the second time, cannabis-related language now receiving a favorable vote out of half of Congress is something that I know the pioneers of this industry, upon the shoulders of which we stand, didn’t know if they would ever see.”