Last month, I traveled to Davos, Switzerland, as a guest of the world-class Cannatech crew for its annual event, which coincides with the World Economic Forum (WEF). I attended the Cannabis Conclave for discussions on European Union-based data, policy, and the work of the cannabis advocacy groups Prohibition Partners and the Consumer Choice Center

With the eyes of the world on Davos, much of the conference’s focus centered on the climate crisis. There were proponents and opponents, and the countervailing sides were, unsurprisingly, polarizing. One end of the spectrum symbolized by President Trump, the other by teenage activist, Greta Thunberg. I couldn’t help noticing how all of this strangely mimicked the World Wrestling Federation storylines from the 1980s — but I digress.

While I heard a lot about the problems and the contributing factors behind climate change, like CO2 emissions, Davos offered a potential solution: sustainability. This topic is, of course, part of the environmental discussion and in lockstep with the broader topic of plant-based economies – specifically, cannabis-based economies, and even more specifically, hemp.

The strategic targets set forth at the WEF and discussed at length over five days centered around the new global cannabis economy. While there was substantial interest in medical and/or adult-use cannabis, once again industrial hemp stole the show.

Hemp has become the darling of so many entrepreneurs, policy advocates, and social and environmental activists because of its potential to meet essential sustainability goals. Hemp is a solution for how to transition away from petroleum-based to plant-based economies across the planet. It also creates an eco-friendly renewable source material for at least 50,000 daily consumer, industrial, and nutritional uses.  

While hemp is nothing new, especially in Europe, global leaders of all kinds are beginning to take it very seriously as a solution to some of the world’s most vexing problems — the exact problems the WEF sought to address.

As I engaged in countless private meetings with public officials, business people, activists, and scientists from many nations, I witnessed what I’ve been working toward for years:  the viability of hemp to solve these problems — reinforced now on a world stage and fostered by a global agenda. 

As I sat back and sipped coffee, staring at the serene beauty of the Swiss Alps, I felt more hopeful than ever that hemp has turned a corner. I recalled a quote from Jack Herer: “Hemp will be the future of all mankind, or there won’t be a future.” Maybe, just maybe, world leaders are beginning to embrace this, too. Once in a while, if you look at it right, you’ll be shown the light in the strangest of places.