Brownies and beer: How edible cannabis businesses plan to cash in on legalization
FEBRUARY 5, 2018
Province Brands filed the provisional patent for the “world’s first beers brewed from the cannabis plant” in July 2017, further stoking interest from the drinks industry in the burgeoning cannabis industry since Constellation bought a 10% stake in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp for £141 million with plans to make cannabis-infused drinks.
Chief executive Rob Sands believes cannabis will eventually be made legal for recreational use in all American states, with the company, like Province Brands, looking to get a head start on the competition.
Last year an ex-Budweiser executive went so far as to suggest that marijuana was the “new craft beer”. However rather than developing cannabis wine or marijuana beer, Constelaltion’s initial plans are to make alcohol free cannabis drinks like sodas, coffees and fruit –based drinks.
Dooma Wendschuh, CEO of Province Brands, said his company has experienced a surge in funding following Constellation’s entrance into the industry, and has welcomed competition from Constellation believing that “building a product category takes time, money and creativity,” and is something they can “work on together”.
“The fact that the first Fortune 500 company to invest in the cannabis space was not a tobacco giant like so many had predicted but was, in fact, Constellation Brands, one of the largest and best run adult beverage businesses in the world, truly validates our efforts and proves the market for beverages like those Province has been brewing,” said Wendschuh.
“We started our company in 2016 when it was not known whether alcohol free beverages which intoxicate using cannabis or its phytocannabinoids would ever be legalized in Canada. The government, just a few months ago, made it clear they’d allow [these types of products], and I’d suspect that’s what made Constellation Brands step up.”
Canada was the first country in the world to legalise medical marijuana in 2001, however this didn’t extent to edibles and beverages. This changed in early October, 2017 when the Canadian Government said this would happen, likely in 2019, causing a surge of investment.
While other companies have produced cannabis-laced beers and wines, Province Brands is the first “global company” to produce beers brewed entirely from the cannabis plant, describing its products as “alcohol-free, yet highly intoxicating, and with a dose-response curve similar to that of alcohol”, as well as being low calorie, low sugar, and mostly gluten free.
“We have developed great-tasting beers, but we also have valuable intellectual property, incredible developments in the pipeline, and a world-class team with decades of combined experience in the adult beverage industry, and, importantly almost two years working together,” added Wendschuh, who also stressed that Province’s mission to bring a “safer and healthier alternative to alcohol” to market.
Cannabis drinks are expected to be made legal in Canada as early as 2019, while medical use of marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.
In the US, recreational marijuana use is currently legal in eight US states, while 21 states allow it for medicinal purposes, while recreational use of cannabis was made legal in California on 1 January 2018.
The US cannabis industry was worth US$6 billion in 2016, and is forecast to reach $50 billion by 2026.