Canada is about to become the first country to legalize cannabis for recreational use. This means it will be, for the time being at least, the sole provider of a commodity many countries want and are willing to pay for, especially for medical use.
A number of entrepreneurial companies are considering the idea of infusing beverages with the soon-to-become legal cannabis, seeing additional profits in the newly legalized industry.
Beer producers such as Molson Coors and Heineken have already signed deals with Canadian cannabis producers. So has Coca-Cola, which is considering adding the cannabis ingredient CBD to a new beverage. It will be marketed as a wellness drink to help reduce pain.
Weed is legal in nine U.S. states, and these states are already selling marijuana-infused beverages. Heineken has come out is a weed and hops drink called Hi-Fi Hops. It contains cannabis instead of alcohol. Coalition Brewing in Oregon has its own CBD-infused beer, Two Flowers IPA. The ingredient CBD is intended to function as an anti-inflammatory and mood regulator, while another cannabis ingredient, THC, will simply get the consumer high. Positioning cannabis-infused drinks as a healthy beverage will likely make is more acceptable to the public and profitable for the manufacturer. The State of Washington’s cannabis-infused Happy Apple drink is emphasizing the freshness of its famed apple orchards.
In addition to beverages, Canada is expected to offer consumers cannabis-infused edibles by next year.
With the sale of alcoholic beverages plateauing in Canada, the sale of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused drinks offer a unique and profitable opportunity. As of 2017, a mere three percent of Canadians consumed weed in liquid form. The imminent legalization of cannabis and introduction of new beverages, however, is expected to make that number soar.
Coca-Cola has been one of the world’s most famous drinks since 1886. It was created by a pharmacist named Pemberton, a civil war veteran addicted to morphine. His initial cola nerve tonic was intended as a cure for his addiction and other ailments. It was marketed as a health drink. It is rumored that Coca-Cola is currently working on a cannabis-infused wellness drink, which, in effect, will return the company to its roots by creating a beverage meant to ease pain.
The actual health benefits of cannabis have been widely discussed without arriving at any firm conclusion. However, most agree that it can alleviate pain and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
At this time, Coca-Cola is discussing the wellness drink concept with Canada’s cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis. While Coca-Cola has not made a final decision, Aurora Cannabis has stated that it will definitely enter the cannabis-infused market. If it comes to an agreement with a major company such as Coca-Cola, it could have huge industry ramifications. How long will it take for other drink manufacturers to follow suit?
Brooklyn-based Dirty Lemon has taken the infused-drink to extraordinary heights. The popular lemon drink that only advertises on social media and can only be ordered through the internet has grown to 30,000 customers, including luminaries such as Kate Hudson. At $65 a case, it has turned in a million-dollar business.
Its formula includes collagen for better skin and fewer wrinkles. It is advertised as a sleeping aid. And the addition of the cannabis’ CBD byproduct is said to produce a mild euphoria and total relaxation. Thus far, it is the premium in cannabis-infused drinks.
The financial potential for beer infused drinks appears to be attractive, especially as it combines two wayward industries – alcohol and cannabis. Constellation Brands, which own Corona, has invested $4 billion in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp., one of the largest weed producing companies in the world. Heineken has introduced in THC-based Hi-Fi Hops.
Molson Coors will partner with HEXO, another Canadian cannabis producer, to develop a cannabis beer for Canada.
Marijuana could provide a much-needed growth spurt to the lagging beer industry. With cannabis legalization, previous taboos are no longer an issue.
While the legalization of cannabis is seen as having tremendous potential profits, the use of marijuana is still against federal law in the US, although a number of states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. These states have seen an influx of cannabis-infused beverages. In California and Nevada, Cannabiniers has introduced cannabis-infused iced teas and is planning on a line of coffees for that jolt of caffeine.
California also has a line of cannabis-infused beers sold under the brand name Two Roots. The state has also produced sodas with THC, the cannabis component that produces a high. The soda, called Sprig, is sold in several flavors. California is also teeming with brands such as Canna Cola, California Dreamin’ and Keef Cola.
Economists predict that the sale of recreational marijuana will surpass soda sales by 2030. Like beer, soda sales have been dropping, and perhaps combining soda with cannabis will revive the industry.
California’s Hippie Brew and Gandja Grindz are combining the jolt of caffeine with the mellowness of weed. Some of these infused coffees contain as much as 100 mg of THG per serving, which appears to be both an extreme high and low.
There is undoubtedly much profit to be made with the legalization of cannabis. Canada is preparing itself for a large influx of revenues. With nine states in the U.S. selling and profiting from the sale of cannabis-infused drinks, it is probably only a matter of time before other states follow the likes of California.