Dec 28, 2018

Cannabis and Big Business

Cannabis is now fully legal in Canada and rapidly taking over the rest of the world, as soon as politicians get their acts together. Even though outlets are limited and the industry is in its nascent stages, big business is beginning to pour billions in investment to get ahead of the pack for worldwide dominance. Now that hemp is legal and no longer controlled by the Controlled Substance Act in the US, some say it is the crack in the dam and time to look for even more action and investments. Following are a few recently announced deals.

AB InBev (Budweiser, Labatt's, Stella Artois, and more) said it is teaming up with Canada's Tilray to research cannabis-infused drinks. Together, they will invest a combined $100 million into researching non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabis elements.

Marlboro owner Altria invested $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos. Phillip Morris is also looking for a cannabis partner to invest in.

Constellation brands (Corona and others) invested four billion dollars into Canopy Growth, another Canadian marijuana business.

Heineken launched Hi-Fi Hops, a cannabis-only beverage in a handful of dispensaries in California. The beverage is designed to taste like beer, but does not contain alcohol. Currently, the beverage comes in a ten-milligram version with THC, and a hybrid version with five milligrams of THC and five milligrams of CBD.

Molson Coors Canada announced a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a recognized leader in Canadian medical cannabis to develop a line of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.

Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced a license agreement with Alcanna, Canada’s largest private-sector liquor retailer paying $82.5 million for a 19.9 percent ownership interest in Alcanna, which at the time was called Liquor Stores N.A. Alcanna already begun converting some of its 229 liquor stores into cannabis retail outlets.

Microsoft shook the cannabis industry and much of the business world when it announced that it would be entering the cannabis industry via a partnership to provide seed-to-sale tracking software, a lucrative sector in cannabis.

Jack in the Box fast-food chain teamed up with the Snoop Dogg-backed cannabis media company Merry Jane to offer a limited-time meal for the cheeky price of $4.20. It is available at a handful of locations in Southern California. The meal was more symbolic than it was an actual entry into the cannabis industry. It marked the first time a non-cannabis company the size of Jack in the Box publicly marketed directly to cannabis consumers.

Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot sell hydroponic equipment, grow lights, and a number of other products that are used for cultivating cannabis. These are essential items for some cannabis growers, but they have other uses too, so the retailers selling them do not necessarily raise eyebrows. They also sell products that are specifically geared towards cannabis cultivation. American Cannabis Company has a distribution agreement with all three retailers. The retailers will distribute such products as SoHum Living Soils – designed for cannabis cultivation.

Incidentally, investing in cannabis stocks is looking like investing in Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and others was, before they achieved wildly inflated prices they command today.