Based in Las Vegas, Douglas french writes about the  economy and book reviews. 

Continued Ballot Box Blitz by Democrats Positive for Pot

Continued Ballot Box Blitz by Democrats Positive for Pot

I speculated back in June that George Clooney was betting cannabis was the plant of future, not agave. The handsome actor and his partners sold their tequila company for a smooth billion dollars after only selling 120,000 cases last year.

Also noticing the current aroma in the air, liquor giant, Constellation Brands, a $42 billion company that sells Corona, Modelo, and Svedka, just fired up “a 9.9% minority stake in the $2 billion Canadian medical marijuana company Canopy Growth. The stake is worth about $191 million, though Constellation will have the option of purchasing additional stakes in the future [up to 20%],” writes Lucinda Shen for Fortune.  

Ms. Shen reported back in April that pot is replacing booze as the high of choice. A couple Wall Street analysts even downgraded Molson-Coors stock due to changing consumer preferences.

“We believe alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade, based on our data analysis covering 80 years of alcohol and 35 years of cannabis incidence in the U.S.,” the  Cowan team noted. “Consumer survey work suggests [about] 80% of consumers reduce their alcohol consumption with cannabis in the mix.”

Cannabis usage is up amoungst 18-25 year olds by nearly 5 percent, while alcohol consumption is down 2.5 percent.

Constellation’s plan is to infuse drinks with cannabis when weed is legalized nation-wide, which the company believes is just around the corner.  

“We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level,” Rob Sands, chief executive of the Victor, N.Y.-based beer, wine and spirits company, said in an interview. “We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage.”

Cannabis-infused drinks are expected to be legal in Canada in 2019 and the liquor giant will sell there.

Sands told the Wall Street Journal he doesn’t see pot as a threat to booze. However, “if a consumer is going to choose a can of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of liquor or a weed-laced elixir, he wants to be able to offer all four.”

“Could it be a threat? Yes, I guess it could be,” he said. “We’re not going to stand around twiddling our thumbs.”

Tuesday’s Democrat Ballot Box Blitz will likely be positive for pot.  Democrat Phil Murphy won the governorship of New Jersey and has said he wants to legalize rec, and there’s already a bill to do so.

“With a very liberal Democratic legislature,” Rob Kampia told Marijuana Business Daily, “we think (New Jersey) would be ranked No. 1 or be tied with Vermont” (in the race to legalize adult use).

Legislatures have been slow to legalize pot, with approvals so far coming in states that allow ballot measures. However, Drug Policy Alliance’s senior director of national affairs, Bill Piper told MBD back in August “I feel pretty bullish overall, (Legalization efforts are) being driven by strong demand from the public, and all the work that activists – including business owners – are doing at the local level is having an impact.”

If the 2018 midterms fill state legislatures full of Democrats the pot business will be on its way nationwide. Constellation can see the stars lining up.  

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