There was much optimism about cannabis going into 2020. The old stigma was almost gone, new states were being set up to legalize recreational marijuana and the industry was seeing record sales. Then, a pandemic erupted and global economies collapsed, putting a major wrench in the works.
It wasn’t all bad. New Jersey, Arizona and South Dakota voted last election to legalize recreational marijuana. This brings the total number of states that allow cannabis to be legalized to 15 (medical marijuana legal in 36). As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
You should be even more enthusiastic about the cannabis markets now than you were last year. We now have a president who will push for pro-cannabis legislation at federal level to end the pandemic.
It remains to be seen how much that push will reach, but it is worth focusing your attention on a new segment of the market: cannabis-infused beverages.
Cannabis infusing food and drinks is not a new idea. In fact, marijuana-infused drinks have been around for a while. Today, the difference is that this idea is set to become a commercial reality.
A latest report by market analysis group Prohibition Partners projects that the global cannabis drinks market will reach $5.8 billion by 2024. This is a compound annual growth rate of 45 percent.
This sounds lofty, but just think of the exponential growth in the CBD market adjacent. In 2014, global CBD sales totaled $3.4 billion. Four years later, they reached $11 billion. They are expected to reach $23 billion by 2025.
There is a huge consumer demand for cannabis-based products. According to the Prohibition Partners report, 25% of consumers would like to try cannabis-infused beverages. 28 percent of those who have tried a cannabis-infused beverage say they will try another within the next three months.
Industry leaders created the Cannabis Beverage Association last year. This consortium is dedicated to supporting and promoting marijuana beverages through advocacy, education, and lobbying. These things are happening quickly.
What exactly are these products?
There are many types of cannabis beverages
First, it is important to remember that you most likely have access to some cannabis-infused beverage, no matter where you live. Because CBD, the main constituent of cannabis plants, has been legalized at federal level and CBD-infused beverages are available all over the country.
THC and CBD are both cannabinoid. THC and CBD are two different cannabinoid types. THC makes people “high”, while CBD doesn’t. CBD, among other things, helps to regulate mood, promote relaxation, and improve sleep habits. People with arthritis or other chronic conditions will find CBD useful because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
If recreational marijuana is not yet legalized in your state, you will find cannabis-infused beverages that contain CBD or CBD with low levels of THC. They will not be made with marijuana, but from hemp, which was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Vita Coco has recently introduced a CBD-infused line for coconut water. Many other brands, such as Ocean Spray, also sell CBD seltzer. CBD tea is also very popular.
Businesses that are located in legal marijuana states or countries like Canada have more creative options. You can make drinks with CBD orTHC to give consumers a fuller cannabis experience. These products are already a big hit among cannabis users looking for an alternative to vaping and smoking.
The future of cannabis beverage manufacturing will be cannabis-infused beer or cannabis beverages made from breweries. Many breweries offer CBD and THC-infused products. Many of them, if they are not all, are non-alcoholic.
Lagunitas Brewing Company, for example, has an offshoot called Hi-Fi Hops. The drink is non-alcoholic and zero-calorie. It has three drinks that are both non-alcoholic and contain varying amounts of CBD or THC. “You get all the tropical and fruity notes from the hops,” Lagunitas brewer Jeremy Marshall explains. “But without all the other stuff that can weight you down.”
Major commercial breweries have also indicated that they are ready to get into the cannabis beverage industry. Anheuser-Busch had announced in 2018 that it would be collaborating with Tilray, a Canadian cannabis company, to create a line non-alcoholic cannabis drinks.
Molson Coors Canada launched a new line of cannabis-infused beverages last summer. Truss Beverages is a line of five beverages that contain anywhere from 2.5mg to 10mg of THC. Each drink also contains CBD.
Truss Beverages is currently only available in Canada. However, they will soon be available on the American market. Molson and HEXO have formed a joint venture called Truss Cannabis USA to launch cannabis drinks in Colorado. Colorado has been a leader in pro-marijuana movement in the United States. In January, their first product, a CBD sparkling wine with no THC was made at selected Colorado stores .
It’s difficult not to be optimistic about the future of cannabis beverages, especially with world-famous companies like Molson Coors or Anheuser-Busch at the forefront. It’s only a matter now of public policy catching up to popular demand.