Opportunities for food and drink as Canada legalises cannabis

20th June 2018

Canada’s food and beverage industry faces a new world of opportunities after the country voted to legalise recreational use of cannabis.

The C-45 Bill, which gives Canada’s regional provinces and territories the power to sell and distribute cannabis, passed in the Canadian senate by 52 votes to 29. It makes Canada only the second country after Uruguay to fully legalise recreational cannabis use and fulfils a long-time manifesto promise of Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau.

It also marks a slow shift in both public and regulatory attitudes towards the drug, with Trudeau saying that Canada’s previous approach was ineffective.

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana and for criminals to reap the profits,” he tweeted after the vote was confirmed yesterday evening. “Today, we change that. Our plan to legalise and regulate marijuana just passed the senate.”

The move also creates opportunities for the food and beverage industry, as consumers could be less reluctant to try cannabis if it’s incorporated into edible formats.

The first sign of intent came in October last year when, amid continuing discussions over legalisation, Constellation Brands invested CAD 245 million ($191 million) in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian supplier of medicinal marijuana.

Constellation, the owner of vodka brands like Svedka and the importer of US beers like Corona and Modelo, said the deal falls in line with its “long-term strategy to identify, meet and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends and market dynamics”. It emphasised that it would not develop cannabis products for markets where the drug is not currently legal, as is the case in most US states.

But Canopy Growth Corp. is likely to be well-positioned to take advantage of legalisation, and of changing perceptions among consumers.

 

Source:  News Desk, FoodBev Media. 

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