Molson Coors said Wednesday that the brewing company plans to market a marijuana-laced beverage in Canada once rules allowing the sale of edibles and and infused drinks cannabis take effect in 2019.
The Canadian arm of Molson Coors has reached a deal with Hydropothecary, a Quebec-based marijuana company, “to pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market,” the companies said in a press release.
Molson Coors Canada will hold a 57.5 percent stake in the venture, leaving Hydropothecary with the remaining 42.5 percent.
“Canada is breaking new ground in the cannabis sector and, as one of the country’s leading beverage companies, Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment,” said Frederic Landtmeters, the company’s CEO and president.
“While we remain a beer business at our core, we are excited to create a separate new venture with a trusted partner that will be a market leader in offering Canadian consumers new experiences with quality, reliable and consistent non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages,” Mr. Landtmeters said.
Canada legalized marijuana this year, making it only the second country after Uruguay to let adults nationwide use the plant for recreational purposes.Recreational marijuana sales are slated to become legal in Canada starting Oct. 17, but rules allowing recreational dispensaries to sell consumable forms of the plant, like infused candies, snacks and beverages, are not expected to take effect until 2019.
Marijuana is federally outlawed throughout the United States, but 30 states and counting have passed legislation permitting the plant for medical or recreational purposes, making the majority of Americans subject to state laws allowing either.
Molson Coors acknowledged earlier this year that legalization in both the U.S. and Canada “may result in a shift of discretionary income away from our products or a change in consumer preferences away from beer.”
“As the legal landscape changes in Canada and evolves in the U.S., we are working actively to understand the impacts on our business, if any, and the range of appropriate responses in the interests of our company and our stakeholders,” Molson Coors spokesman Colin Wheeler said in February.
Established in 2013, Hydropothecary currently harvests nearly 8,000 pounds of marijuana per year, according to its website a fraction of the over 200,000 pounds it plans on producing when it opens a new facility later this year.
“With this new company, we are bringing together Quebec’s oldest, most established company with one of its newest success stories in a truly innovative partnership,” said Sebastien St-Louis, Hydropothecary’s co-founder and CEO.