Though currently only legal in select states, cannabis-infused beverages will one day be a very lucrative industry — or so giant beverage conglomerate Constellation Brands believes: The company is sinking nearly $200 million into developing and marketing cannabis-infused drinks, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Constellation, which owns various producers including Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka vodka and also brews Corona for the American market, has acquired a 9.9 percent stake in a Canadian company called Canopy Growth, described as “the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company.”
Constellation wants to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages, but doesn’t plan to sell such products in the U.S. until marijuana is legal nationwide. CEO Rob Sands tells the WSJ that the company believes federal legalization of marijuana is “highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level.”
Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in eight states, and dozens more have medical marijuana laws. Though it seems that federal legalization could still be a ways off — current U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions has been vocal about his opposition to cannabis — Sands tells the Journal that Constellation is “obviously trying to get first-mover advantage,” a sentiment that’s been echoed by various other companies.
Despite still being completely outlawed in several states, America’s legal marijuana business is booming, raking in nearly $6 billion in sales in 2016. The market of cannabis-infused products is expanding rapidly, now encompassing everything from weed-infused K-cups to THC-laden caramels produced by reputable pastry chefs.