Welcome to our annual “Tips Issue,” where we provide as many tips on as many cannabis cultivation topics as possible. December is a busy month for everyone, so the tips format presents content in bite-sized bits for quick reading. The issue also contains practical information to help usher you into the new year successfully.

This is also our 31st print issue. The industry has transformed significantly since our 2014 launch. When I co-founded Cannabis Business Times (as a website and e-newsletter), Colorado was about to rollout its adult-use market—the first U.S. state to do so. I covered the ups, downs, criticisms and success stories as the country watched The Centennial State closely.

I followed Oregon’s Measure 91, Washington state’s i502 and Alaska’s Measure 2, through their passages in the November 2014 elections—making Oregon, Washington and Alaska the second, third and fourth states (not necessarily in that order) to legalize and regulate marijuana. These states were pioneers. The paths they forged taught others both what to do and what not to do.

Today, more than 30 states—60 percent of the U.S.—have legal medical programs of some kind. Ten states and Washington D.C. have ended cannabis prohibition within their borders: nine states have legalized and regulated adult-use (Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Nevada and Michigan), while Vermont and the District have legalized it without a regulated market. And 22 states have decriminalized or removed the threat of incarceration for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Not to mention, Canada legalized marijuana nationwide in October, dealing prohibition perhaps its biggest blow yet.

And we’re moving forward still. On Nov. 26, New Jersey’s legislators advanced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill through the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Budget Committee, sending it to the full Senate and Assembly floors for full votes. By our next issue, I am hopeful 11 states will have legalized marijuana.

Not everything has been sunshine and roses for cannabis cultivators, though. Among the dozens of obstacles I have seen cannabis cultivators strive to overcome, here are merely a few:

  • product shortages and price hikes, followed by price gluts due to market oversaturation;
  • banks closing accounts by the masses;
  • regulatory flux in a learn-as-you-go marketplace;
  • municipal moratoriums and bans;
  • exorbitantly high taxes;
  • the extensive, ongoing responsibility and cost of compliance that has crippled many; and
  • opportunities in global cannabis expansion and challenges in the face of U.S. federal prohibition.

It’s been a wild ride to say the least. Cannabis Business Times’ mission has always been to help you navigate and thrive in this immense and constantly developing landscape of opportunity and chaos.

As we send our 31st issue, our third annual “Tips Issue,” to press, we look toward the year ahead. We are committed to fulfilling our mission, making sense of the chaos and watching the prohibition wall continue to crumble.