Cannabeer and other cannabis drinks may not be a big deal says Aurora Cannabis CEO

Published Jun 7, 2019 11:07 a.m. ET
Credit: Erik Wieder

Cannabis infused drinks are coming in many different forms. From alcohol to alcohol free, what can we expect? October 2019 is the date when edibles will be legally available for sale in Canada. The much-anticipated date may not be as promising for companies whose interests lie in the cannabis beer or cannabis infused drink industry.

Aurora Cannabis CEO Terry Booth puts forth the presumption that perhaps cannabis infused drinks are not the golden egg that was once thought they would be. Mr. Booth does not see the possibility of the country supporting cannabis bars shortly, as they do for alcohol beverages.

Cannabis beer will be de-alcoholized when sold in Canada. There remains an ongoing challenge with the government restrictions around the combination of beverages that are infused with cannabis.

The government proposes to allow the drinking and manufacturing of a drink that is brewed in a brewery made from barley but can not be identified as beer either on the label or in any other form. The packaging must not be appealing to children. The product must contain no more than 10mg of THC per container.

Coca-Cola and Aurora Cannabis were in collaboration over cannabis beverages. However, nothing to date has been announced. Coca Cola is looking towards the CBD infused drink market. I am promoting a wellness drink, not a psychoactive beverage.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer for Aurora, states that he does not want to sound too negative on the prospect of cannabis beer and other infused cannabis beverages, but sees Aurora reaching for a different market. Beverage products are still in the fire but are not in the fore-front.

The products that are being developed in more earnest involve:

Vapes: manufactured under the brand name Aurora Cloud is the first vape-ready CBD product legally available in Canada. The potency is high, containing over 550mg of CBD and under 30mg of THC.

Edibles: like chocolate and mints will be available from the companies, newly constructed Aurora Polaris logistic facility.

THC edibles contain fat-soluble THC, unlike what is being proposed for the cannabis beer. The type of THC soluble component will be responsible for the length of time for the cannabinoids to take effect. The general public does not want to indulge in a refreshing wet beer and then wait for two hours to see the effect, and then have those effects last up to eight hours.

The future appears to be brighter for cannabis infused drinks that move towards the wellness market, where beverages are concerned. CBD infused drinks appear to be the more viable business investment shortly.

The strict regulatory issues that surround edible cannabis infused drinks may be retarding the growth of this part of the cannabis industry. The eyes are a compelling part of the marketing and purchasing of a product. When heavy restrictions on branding the product present itself, it may retard the sales of the beverages.

Cannabis dispensaries will have to ensure the consumer through education what it is that they are buying, the labels will not be descriptive enough for some.

Cannabis beer or other cannabis drinks are part of the next wave of the legalization for the cannabis plant in Canada. People are watching and waiting for the delivery of these products, and only time will tell if Terry Booth’s premonition of the future of cannabis drinks comes true.

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