Progress can be difficult to measure, especially when many businesses and life as we know it changed dramatically almost overnight due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But remembering where we’ve been is important to remind us that things will not stay this way forever, and progress, while sometimes seemingly small, is still progress. In that vein, this issue of Cannabis Business Times has a common thread of reflection.

Starting here, you’ll find CBT’s fifth “State of the Cannabis Cultivation Industry Report.” With five years of data, patterns we’ve seen develop are becoming consistent trends you can use to benchmark your business. Overall, the numbers suggest that the industry continues to draw new interest, as 43% of research participants have been in business less than two years—a trend we’ve seen since 2016, when the majority (60%) had been in business less than three years. Findings also show that cultivators are reducing production costs, which is crucial as competition increases and wholesale prices decline.

Speaking of findings, North Carolina State University researchers have, for the past year and half, shared research results on cannabis health in a series of articles on nutrient and cultivation management and provide actionable information you can use in your own cultivation operations. In this issue, they explore how to achieve ideal boron levels and how those levels can significantly impact your yields.

When Cannabis Business Times, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in print this year, and the “State of the Cannabis Cultivation Industry Report” launched, the U.S. legalization landscape looked very different. Only four states operated adult-use programs, and they were all in the western half of the country. Today, close to a dozen have fully legalized cannabis consumption, including Illinois and Michigan in the Midwest and Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont in the East.

However, progress has many nuances, and state legalization of a federally illicit plant is never a clear cut nor consistent process. In the April 2018 cover story, CBT Digital Editor Eric Sandy examined the California market, the pioneer of medical cannabis, at the dawn of adult-use legalization. In this issue, he revisits the story, speaking to stakeholders and growers in The Golden State, to see what the regulated market looks like two years later and how exorbitant taxes and the uneven balance between the number of growers and licensed retailers, among other challenges, are straining legal cultivators and prices and fueling the illicit market.

Also in this issue, Senior Editor Patrick Williams shares the first in a special series highlighting some of the historic moments of legalization and regulation and how they’ve led to where the industry is today.

As more states come online, the hope is that each new market can learn from what others have done right, as well as wrong, as the industry continues to push for federal legalization.

Of course, challenges persist. But whether through legislative advancements, benchmarking data tracking the industry’s growth, or new research on cannabis cultivation (which until recently was not permitted in any university setting), progress is all around us.

Tangible examples of progress can even be found in your grow rooms, greenhouses and fields, where we are reminded that tiny seeds and cuttings can eventually grow into beautiful, powerful plants.