Rob Sands, CEO of U.S. drinks company Constellation Brand, has announced in an interview with Wall Street Journal on Monday to buy a 9.9% minority share in the $2 billion Canadian medical marijuana company Canopy Growth. The deal is worth $245 million Canadian dollars ($191 million) and gives the company the option of purchasing additional stakes of the world's largest publicly traded cannabis company in the future.
The top executive, who is also son of the founder of Constellation Brands said, he expects the U.S. to legalize marijuana nationally. "We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level. We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage," he said.
The company plans to work with the grower on the development, marketing and sales of cannabis-infused beverages. Last year, Sands already said to explore possibilities of producing alcoholic beverages that also contain cannabis. (inside.beer, 15.11.2016) Where others fear the competition of marijuana, Sands sees huge opportunities. “Maybe the whole thing will work out synergistically,” he said last year.
“Canopy Growth has a seasoned leadership team that understands the legal, regulatory and economic landscape for an emerging market that is predicted to become a significant consumer category in the future,” Sands said on Monday. “Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”
Sands also said that he is not planning to sell cannabis products in the U.S. until it is legal nationwide but may soon sell such a product in Canada, where legalization of edible and drinkable cannabis products is expected by 2019.