Legal Cannabis Heralds A Seismic Shift For Canada’s Drinks Industry

Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada after the Senate passed a “historic” bill on Tuesday with a vote of 52-29…paving the way for monumental changes in its drinks industry.

Here’s the deal…

Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime.

And its passage was not only expected, it has been planned for by a number of corporate entrepreneurs.

Over the past year, Canada’s drinks firms and distribution providers have been ready to capitalize on the newly-legalized cannabis market.

Last October, drinks giant Constellation Brands purchased a 9.9% stake in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp for £141 million, with plans to make cannabis-infused drinks.

In February, a Canadian company Province Brands filed a technology patent for the production of beer brewed from cannabis, using a methodology where the grains traditionally used to make beer are completely replaced with marijuana.

Back in April Hydropothecary, a major Canadian medical cannabis producer, signed a five-year deal with Quebec’s alcohol distributor the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) to distribute their products throughout the Province.

And in May Great North Distributors (a Canadian subsidiary of Miami, Florida based Southern Glazer’s) confirmed a deal with marijuana producer Aphria to distribute its products across Canada.

Canada’s recreational cannabis industry is predicted to be worth up to $6.2bn (£3.6bn) after Cannabis Act becomes the law of the land which is expected to take place in September.

Clearly legal cannibis products will impact the drinks industry…the question is how and to what degree.

Business analysts have already been warning that consumers will be moving away from wine and beer to non-alcoholic alternatives infused with THC, the psychoactive component of the Cannabis plant, once they become available.

And it’s going to be interesting to watch how things develop once Bill C-45 becomes law.

Pot Beer Image Credit: Mitchell Maglio

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