Change is the only constant. Why, then, after hundreds of millennia, does humankind continue to resist? One might have thought that by now, we’d have made peace with whatever innate trait drives us relentlessly forward, changing ourselves and the world around us.

Something integral to the human experience has pushed our species to innovate and evolve since the dawn of time. The discovery of fire, invention of the wheel, emergence of industrialization, advent of a digital world… All of those changes have been friend and foe, blessing and curse, the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Because of the way innovations build upon one another, each taking advantage of the previous generation’s advances to become easier, faster, and smarter, the pace of change quickens over time. About 6,000 years separated the invention of the wheel from the dawn of the Industrial Age. Two hundred and thirty years later, the Internet Age arrived. Now, after a scant thirty years, we stand on the precipice of another major leap forward with the introduction of artificial intelligence. By this time next year, who knows where we’ll be?

Though we often think and speak of the cannabis industry as though it exists apart from the rest of the society, the industry actually can be viewed as a microcosm of human history. From its emergence as a legal sector thirty years ago to the present, the industry has evolved rapidly, progressing from its own figurative Stone Age through a Great Enlightenment and now operating in a period that compresses the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Age into a single era. The alacrity with which businesses have embraced automation, artificial inteligence, and digital technology simultaneously is both astounding and inspiring.

As in the larger society, a certain percentage of the industry’s population mourns the loss of a less-complicated way of life that may never have existed in exactly the way we remember it. There will always be a place for those who honor the community’s roots by keeping traditions alive, but evolution is inevitable.

Whether change ultimately proves to be friend or foe, blessing or curse, is up to us. Let’s proceed with due caution, respecting the past but welcoming the future.