The Ontario government has contributed $300,000 to help a Toronto company work with Loyalist College in Belleville to develop what it says will be the world’s first beer brewed from cannabis.
The joint project will create a beer that is “highly intoxicating” but safer and healthier than alcohol, says Province Brands of Canada. The company chipped in $300,000 in cash and in-kind services.
Province Brands joins cannabis industry giant Canopy Growth Corp. in Smiths Falls in betting that drinks will become a dominant way that Canadians consume their marijuana when it’s legal.
And the Ontario government seems to be on board. The grant will help Province Brands create beer that should be ready to sell when edible marijuana products are allowed, says chief executive Dooma Wendschuh.
That will probably be in 2019. The federal government says it plans to legalize dried weed and cannabis oil for recreational use this summer, with edible cannabis products regulated within a year after that.
Some traditionalists will continue to prefer rolling a joint and smoking it, of course, but industry experts say combustible cannabis is not the way of the future. Society has moved away from cigarettes, and smoking pot creates some of the same toxic chemicals.
South of the border, the trends are clear. In Colorado, the first U.S. state to open recreational marijuana shops, sales of dried weed have plummeted. Consumers are buying vape pens and concentrated cannabis, and a wide range of edible products, with gummy candies the most popular.
Beverages make up a small part of cannabis sales in U.S. states where marijuana is legal.