The election night in the USA became a victory moment for marijuana legalization supporters in some American states. Voters from Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, and California said “yes” to the recreational use of cannabis. Taking into account that the number of states with legal weed has increased to nine, including Washington, D.C., one can say that one in five Americans over 21 years old lives in the area where they can get high legally.
Some of the spirits industry representatives are sure that cannabis legalization opens new opportunities and creates a huge new market for legal marijuana. Rob Sands, Chief Executive Office of Constellation Brands, says that this alcohol giant, the distributor of Svedka vodka and Corona beer, is thinking about livening up its alcoholic beverages and starting the production of spirits containing cannabis.
It should be said that weed has been considered a threat to the alcohol industry but Sands has an opposite point of view. He says that spirits manufacturers and sellers have a great chance to succeed with marijuana cocktails. According to the information provided by Cowen & Co, the spirits industry is expected to grow by more than eight times in the next decade and achieve the size of the North American market of salty snacks. So, to Sands’ mind, as there is a lot of money involved, large alcohol businesses will be extremely interested in being involved in the marijuana industry.
The existing problem that Sands sees is the current federal law in accordance to which cannabis is still illegal. After all, Constellation Brands relies on the federal government for sale licenses and permits.
Other representatives of the spirits industry are not so optimistic about legal weed. Some of them are afraid that marijuana legalization will negatively influence and cannibalize alcohol sales. For example, in Massachusets and Arizona, a number of spirits industry trade groups financed campaigns that opposed marijuana legalization.
According to the information from Cowen and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of weed smokers who drink has declined over the past decade. At the same time, the number of drinkers smoking pot has grown. Statistics demonstrate that spirits sales have not declined in such states as Washington and Colorado since weed was legalized there. So, it seems that there is enough place in the market for both alcohol and cannabis at the moment.