Non-alcoholic beer! Are you out of your cannabis infused mind?
In July last year, Canada brewed its first cannabis beer.
Behind this initiative was Province Brands, a company that through its co-founder and CEO Michael ‘Doomah’ Wenschuh wants to change the world.
By flipping the beer-infused narrative on its head.
By the time Canada legalises edibles in mid-2019, Province Brands will have come to market with a non-alcoholic beverage that is brewed like beer but from weed.
Wenschuh told Vice: “We would never make a product that would contain both alcohol and marijuana. That’s a very important distinction between us and other companies. Alcohol is poison! The real intention here is to create a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol — a low calorie product that is gluten-free but can compete in terms of its appeal to an alcoholic beverage.”
As Vice rightly points out, the irony is that Province is currently riding the publicity coattails of the minority stake acquisition by alcohol giant Constellation Brands in the $20 billion capped Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC), the world’s largest cannabis company.
So instead of asking ‘what’s your poison?’, blatantly calling out alcohol as poison seems a bit rich.
Province may also have an attitude issue to dismantle:
Yet, as Canopy CEO Bruce Linton believes, one of the biggest selling points is that, unlike alcohol, cannabis has no calories and would be less likely to cause weight gain. Note that this may not take into account any sugar or other products used to brew.
Canopy, which is North America’s first publicly traded cannabis company, is developing a line of cannabis infused cocktails as they set their sights on non-smokers.
"We're going to create a platform of products that will be great for a party and in demand globally," said Canopy CEO Bruce Linton. "We think beverages are going to fit in. They are also socially acceptable, right?"
It seems so.
According to Georgia State University research, medical marijuana laws have caused alcohol sales to tumble in many states across the US, which could open the door for socially acceptable cannabis edibles.
There, research suggests alcohol purchases decreased by 15% in locations where medical marijuana laws has passed.
A paper co-authored by Georgia State University Economics Professor Alberto Chong, found the decline was true even when correcting for demographic and economic factors known to influence alcohol consumption, such as sex, age, unemployment rate and median household income.
“Our findings clearly show that these two substances act as strong substitutes in the marketplace,” Chong said. “This implies that rather than exacerbating the consequences of alcohol consumption — such as an increase in addiction, car accidents or disease risk — legalising cannabis may temper them.”
There are studies to the contrary, but it does bring into question what the actual impacts of cannabis legalisation will be.
Companies are already feeling the pinch of quirky cannabis regulations. California is being particularly stringent on companies in the cannabis space. One of the more bizarre regulations:
No naked employees:
No licensee shall employ or use the services of any “host or other person to mingle with the patrons” ... “in the sale or service of cannabis goods in or upon the licensed premises while such person is unclothed or in such attire, costume, or clothing as to expose to view any portion of the male or female breast below the top of the areola or of any portion of the pubic hair, anus, cleft of the buttocks, vulva, or genitals.” Nor shall the licensee encourage or permit any person “to touch, caress, or fondle the breasts, buttocks, anus, or genitals of any other person.”
You can read the full list here.
With Australia moving down a similar path, what regulations will we see?
How will it affect advertising?
Personally, if cannabis advertising is made legal (which is some way down the track I'd say), I’d like to see CUB re-do their old VB ads. Perhaps they could launch a Cannabis Bitter (CB).
Here’s one of the original ads from the 1980s:
Now, think about a slight modification to the lyrics:
You can get it ridin'
You can get it slidin'
You can feel it comin’ on about 4.20
A hard earned thirst needs a big cold cannabis beer
And the best cannabis beer is VIC