Although it has long been said that the alcohol industry is frightened by the concept of legal weed, one of the largest booze conglomerates in the United States just revealed that it wants to get involved in the cannabis industry.
In a recent interview with Ad Age, Rob Sands, Chief Executive Officer at Constellation Brands, the driving force behind Corona, Modelo and Svedka Vodka, said the company is currently considering the development of a new line of marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.
"We're looking at it," Sands said. "There are going to be alcoholic beverages that will also contain cannabis."
As of Tuesday, there are eight states that have legalized marijuana in a manner similar to beer. Several of these markets, especially California, are expected to bring the national cannabis industry into view – that is as long as the Trump Administration does not shut it down through the destruction of the Cole Memorandum.
One of the latest reports shows that legal weed could generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion within the next decade. It is for this reason that Big Alcohol is likely preparing to swoop in to cut the throats of smaller businesses, taking over, to some degree, the new legal weed sector.
According to Sands, this takeover is already in the works.
"Why wouldn't big business, so to speak, be acutely interested in a category of that magnitude?" Sands said. "If there's a lot of money involved, it's not going to be left to small mom-and-pops."
The primary snag in the grand scheme where large alcohol corporations come crashing in on the newfound cannabis trade with blitzkrieg force is the simple fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Because companies like Constellation rely on the government for the licenses and permits required to distribute their products all over the world, producing a beverage containing THC, the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, would present some immediate issues.
However, the alcohol industry is interested in getting involved with cannabis in an effort to make up for some of the customer base that has been lost due to marijuana legalization. Statistics have shown that booze consumption has diminished over the past few years, while the use of cannabis continues to intensify.
But none of this is likely to happen unless the federal government finally decides to repeal prohibition and allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated on a national level. It is then that entire cannabis industry will change – for better or worse.