Despite some headwinds, Cannabiz co-founder and chief growth officer Martin Lane says the industry has every reason to feel bullish about the future as we say goodbye to a year best forgotten.

Do you remember 2016, the so-called ‘year from hell’? That blissfully ignorant time when all we had to worry about was the world’s last remaining superpower voting in a reality TV star as president; the UK choosing to sever ties with the large trading bloc on its doorstep in favour of unspecified – and mostly still unsigned – free trade agreements with just about anyone else; and various much-loved celebrities departing the planet at a rate which started to feel a bit personal.

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When Muhammad Ali, Prince, David Bowie and George Michael all die in the same 12 months it’s easy to think things can’t get any worse. Until they do.

Martin Lane - Cannabis Australia - Cannabiz
Cannabiz co-founder Martin Lane: lots of positives in a tough year.

But in among all the doom and gloom at the time, I read an article which put things in context. Generally, it argued, the world is becoming a more liberal, forward-thinking place. Obviously that depends very much on where you live – those under ISIS rule back then probably didn’t subscribe to the notion that they’d never had it so good.

But for most of the rest of us, things do tend to get better, not worse, notwithstanding the odd hiccup. It was a comforting thought in 2016, when people used phrases like “if Trump can only surround himself with some smart people, it may not be that bad”.

As we say goodbye to a year of social distancing, Black Lives Matter protests and a Supreme Court majority for conservatives that could set a woman’s right to choose back to the early 1970s, it may seem a tad naive. But the optimist in me says the basic tenet still holds – the 2020s won’t be a re-run of the 1930s and the recent triumph of nationalism over globalism is a blip in an otherwise progressive graph.

Which brings us to a slew of good news on the cannabis front last week. First up, we had the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs accepting a World Health Organisation recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Under the UN’s system, Schedule IV substances are considered the most dangerous and addictive drugs. Cannabis will now be classified under Schedule I, which is the least restrictive drug classification.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...