Thank goodness for cannabis.
In this alphabetical look back at world events in 2015 (with a heavy dose of legalization news), it becomes clear quickly that it's been a good year for pot and a lousy year for absolutely everything else.
From troubling developments like internet hacks to unspeakable catastrophes like Donald Trump, 2015 is best seen in the rearview mirror.
Let's do that, shall we?
A is for Ashley Madison. The infidelity website was hacked in July, exposing the personal information of 37 millions users. The data breach included the email addresses and credit card information of tens of thousands of government employees, dozens of celebrities and 11 women.
B is for Bernie Sanders. The U.S. Democratic presidential candidate said that states should be allowed to set their own laws on cannabis, drawing strong criticism from Republicans and their long-standing belief in federal interference at the state level.
Renovated Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado.Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com
C is for Colorado, which made the decision to legalize marijuana three years ago, and has now been officially declared a "failed state" as lawlessness, addiction and disease run rampant over the formerly stable region. Few reporters have attempted to cross the borders into the state, but refugees streaming into Oklahoma paint a bleak picture of gang violence and streets strewn with strung-out single mothers and their 'pot babies.' U.S. President Barack Obama said ground troops may be the only answer. "This is the biggest existential threat we've faced since gay marriage and health care," Obama said. "I fear history will judge us harshly."
D is for Donald Trump. The U.S. presidential candidate stayed atop Republican polls all year because he has declared bankruptcy four times, making him the candidate that best understands the life of the typical working-class American.
Activists supporting Ferguson protests clash with NYPDa katz / Shutterstock.com
E is for "encounters with police." That's the phrasing the media often uses to describe a police officer, usually white, killing a person, usually black, often sight unseen. Or, it used to be unseen, until video cameras started catching these "incidents." Why the neutral phrasing? Because the police officers' alleged crimes deserve the proper hearing and justice that their alleged victims never got.
F is for FBI. Even as the U.S. moves step by step toward legalization, numbers show the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to arrest hundreds of thousands of Americans annually for marijuana crimes - 88 per cent of them for possession alone. Possession really is nine-tenths of the law.
G is for Germanwings. A co-pilot deliberately flies a passenger plane into a mountainside, killing all aboard. The slaughter of more than 100 people by a mentally disturbed young man results in serious self-reflection about our safety and myriad changes to the way we deal with — oh, hold on, he was white? Sorry, nothing. We changed nothing, and won't be reflecting on it further. Sorry.
Hillary Clinton speaks in NYCJStone / Shutterstock.com
H is for Hillary Clinton. Asked if she had ever smoked pot, the leading Democratic candidate for president said when she was younger she stood in Bill Clinton's second-hand pot smoke, but didn't inhale.
I is for ISIS. The only group in the world making more atrocious, offensive and depressing movies than Adam Sandler's.
J is for Night's Watch Commander Jon Snow and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Here we have a northern leader -- known for his looks, his hair and his skill in one-on-one combat -- surprisingly winning an election and supporting refugees despite vocal opposition. Once left for dead.
K is for Kathleen Wynne. The premier of Ontario says it "makes a lot of sense" for marijuana to be sold in liquor stores, meaning that for the first time ever marijuana really will be a gateway to a harder, more dangerous drug.
2015 In Canada Was The Year Of Justin Trudeauarindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com
L is for Liberals. It's a lower-case insult in the U.S. but it's the upper-case ruling party in Canada. The newly elected Liberals' platform includes straight-up legalization of marijuana, which means the country north of the 49th parallel will soon be as socially progressive as Bangladesh, Colombia and Alaska. Viva la revolución!
M is for mainstreaming marijuana. 2015 was the year where we could start saying, "I smoked pot before it was cool." No less an authority than Rolling Stone called it the year of "mainstream marijuana," and if there's anybody who knows what it's like to transition from edgy and cool to conventional and run of the mill, it's Rolling Stone.
N is for Nevada. Fifteen years after they voted to legalize it, marijuana is sold legally in the state for the first time. Now let's cross our fingers that Nevada does not become synonymous with vice.
O is for Ohio, where 64 per cent of voters rejected a proposition that would have legalized marijuana. Let's cross our fingers that Ohio does not become synonymous with boredom.
Paris inspired both calls for peace after a deadly ISIS attack and was the meeting place where a climate accord was finally agreed upon.Stacey Newman / Shutterstock.com
P is for Paris, which saw humans at their attempted worst (the deadly ISIS attack) and at their attempted best (the Paris climate accord). Depending on our reactions, those two events could change the course of humanity forever, or they could just be blips, historically speaking. Just remember, it's mostly dependent on how many status updates you wrote and whether you changed your profile pic. And most people won't share this. Like if you agree.
Q is for Quebec, where a judge got ahead of the government and condemned Canada's "ridiculous" marijuana laws, giving a man nabbed for possession a $1 fine and saying that the legal system prosecutes people while its employees get high themselves. And if Canada is sounding better all the time, remember that if you move here, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will greet you personally at the border.
Speaking of which, R is for refugees. The number of people fleeing their home country reached an all-time high worldwide in 2015, and we should take a moment to think about the terrible strain that's been put on a group that is often overlooked: angry internet commenters. I think we must make note of the troubles they've had this year due to the sheer number of refugee stories to comment on, not to mention the ethical quandaries they've had to deal with. Like, "Can I argue that we should be helping the homeless first when I hate them, too?" and "How do I explain that refugees are both lazy and taking our jobs?" The next time you see a destroyed city or a family torn apart, let's remember who the real victims are.
In 2015, The Christmas Season was nearly entirely rebranded Star Wars Season.af8images / Shutterstock.com
S is for Star Wars. Thirty-two years after Return of the Jedi, J.J. Abrams brings Star Wars fans exactly what they were looking for: a movie that's basically the first one all over again and enough merchandise to weigh down a Star Destroyer. The scene where Kylo Ren takes his mask off to down a Pepsi was still better than the prequels.
T is for terrorism. What is terrorism exactly? Well, after an alleged mall shooting plan connected to two young white men and a U.S. woman of Asian descent was thwarted by Canadian police in February, the commanding officer actually said, "I would classify it as a group of individuals that had some beliefs and were willing to carry out violent acts against citizens, but there's nothing in the investigation to classify it as a terrorist attack." I think the officer will find, "Nobody here was Muslim, so breathe easy" is a much better economy of words.
U is for Uruguay: The South American country, which legalized cannabis in 2013, has seen its transformation slowed by red tape, police resistance to change and a lack of government planning. Fortunately for the rest of us, those things are isolated to Uruguay, so it should be smooth sailing.
We're pretending waffles were a big story in 2015 because the real 2015 was, frankly, a bit much.Shutterstock.com
V is for violence, W is for worrying, X is for xenophobia: God, it's been a real crappy year, hasn't it? Let's just pretend V is for vegetable gardens, W is for waffles and X is for Xbox, and move on. Good? Good.
Y is for Yemen. This year's runaway winner of the Country We Should Probably Be Paying Attention To Because It's Sort Of Collapsing But Who Has The Time To Learn About Another Country When The Big Bang Theory Is On award. Coming next year to a CNN explainer entitled, "Why do they hate us?"
Z is for Zhelyu Zhelev. As Wikipedia tells us, Zhelyu Mitev Zhelev was a Bulgarian politician and former dissident who served as the first non-Communist President of Bulgaria from 1990 to 1997. He died in January, a devastating loss that echoed all the way to December, and possibly next December too, unless something notable happens in Zimbabwe next year. Until then!