America is on the cusp of a weed revolution, and it's got many alcohol giants nervous about legal pot eating into their profits. But at least one major brewer has decided rather than fight Big Marijuana, it's going to join them, investing nearly $200 million in a Canadian weed company.
Constellation Brands, Inc. is a New York-based Fortune 500 company that makes and exports beer brands including Corona and Modelo to the US. Constellation has purchased a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian weed startup, at a price tag of $191 million US.
This is one of the first major public investments from an alcohol company into the marijuana industry, a possible bellwether for the rest of Big Booze, which has been expressing deep concerns in the last two years over the impact that legalized weed would have on their business.
Ontario is set to legalize recreational marijuana next year, and it's expected to be legalized federally in Canada next summer as well. Canopy, the world's largest publicly traded pot company, began producing medical marijuana, but has been expanding ahead of the planned legalization.
In the US, legalized weed is less of a sure thing. Since 2012, eight states of legalized recreational use of marijuana, with dozens of other states considering it. Constellation is also hoping to develop cannabis-dosed beverages with Canopy.
"We're not going to stand around twiddling our thumbs," Rob Sands, CEO of Constellation Brands, told the Wall Street Journal. "We think that [legalization is] highly likely, given what's happened at the state level. We're obviously trying to get first-mover advantage."
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