There has been some evidence that legalizing cannabis leads to a bit of a dip in alcohol sales, leading some in the alcohol industry to oppose legalization, but there are signs that joining the marijuana movement is the better financial play.  Molson Coors Brewing Company is certainly (wisely) embracing the burgeoning cannabis industry by developing a cannabis beverage set to be sold to consumers when Canada legalizes for all adults on October 17th, as the Daily Hive reported:

The Molson Coors Brewing Company is joining the cannabis game. In a joint venture with leading cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation, the two companies will develop non-alcoholic drinks infused with cannabis.

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“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,” says Frederic Landtmeters, President and CEO of Molson Coors Canada. “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.”

The deal will be finalized by the end of September and is subject to the final approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Business Insider covered the ramifications this move may have for the cannabis industry:

Analysts watching the cannabis and beverage space called the deal a “historic milestone” for the Canadian cannabis industry.

“We believe that the merger of the cannabis and beverage industries hold great potential for investors looking to reap the benefits of innovation in the space,” a group of analysts at Beacon Securities, a Toronto-based investment bank, said in a note.

Cannabis is set to be legalized in Canada on October 17, though cannabis-infused edibles and beverages won’t immediately be available. Molson Coors expects cannabis beverages to be legal by 2019. The consulting firm Deloitte expects the Canadian cannabis market to exceed $4.34 billion in sales by 2019.

With several alcohol companies moving into the marijuana business, we can expect more to follow as legalization gets passed state by state, and especially after federal prohibition ends. Thus far, it seems, as usual, that bigger beer companies are getting ahead in the cannabis space. It would be nice to see more craft brewers get in the mix to provide an avenue for mom-and-pops to thrive as well.

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