Alcohol Giant Constellation Considers Adding Marijuana to Drinks

Article by Jennifer Kaplan, Bloomberg via The Toronto Star

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Constellation Brands, the alcohol giant that sells Corona beer and Svedka vodka, is considering a new approach to livening up its beverages: marijuana.

“We’re looking at it,” Constellation chief executive officer Rob Sands said in an interview. “There are going to be alcoholic beverages that will also contain cannabis.”

The legalization of marijuana across much of the U.S. — spurred by election-night victories on Tuesday — is creating a huge new market for legal weed. Voters approved marijuana for recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. That brings the tally of states with legal pot to eight, plus Washington, D.C., meaning one in five American adults now lives in an area where it will be legal to get high.

Though marijuana has been viewed as a threat to the spirits industry, Sands sees it as an opportunity. The industry is expected to grow more than eightfold in the next decade, 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. “If there’s a lot of money involved, it’s not going to be left to small mom-and-pops.”

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