Laws and attitudes in America about cannabis are changing. After Election Day 2016, eight states have now legalized recreational use of the drug: Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Twenty-one other states permit marijuana for medicinal purposes.
That means that more than half the country has legalized cannabis is some form. One in five Americans now live in a state where it is legal to consumer marijuana. The tide is shifting. Broad federal legalization may arrive sooner than anyone expects.
Constellation Brands seems to think so. The maker of Corona and Svedka vodka, in a recent article published by Bloomberg, suggested the possibility of working with marijuana. “There are going to be alcoholic beverages that will also contain cannabis,” Constellation Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands said in the interview.
The cannabis industry is anticipated to expand more than eightfold in the next ten years, the article states, “from $6 billion in 2015 to $50 billion by 2026, according to data from Cowen & Co. That’s about the size of the North American market for salty snacks.”
“Why wouldn’t big business, so to speak, be acutely interested in a category of that magnitude?” Sands said in the article. “If there’s a lot of money involved, it’s not going to be left to small mom-and-pops.”
In states where recreational marijuana is legal, some producers are already making alcohol infused with hemp. Like Humboldt’s Finest vodka from Humboldt Distillery in California. Though because hemp derives from the stalk of the cannabis plant, and not the bud (like THC), these products will not get people stoned.
It’s also worth pointing out that alcohol sales have not dipped in Colorado or Washington since those states legalized pot several years back.
All signs point towards continued growth for the legal cannabis industry. What this means for the alcohol industry remains to be determined.