It’s a clean sweep. Within the last two weeks, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma and Big Alcohol have all made moves into the Canadian cannabis industry:
• On Dec. 7, Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group purchased 45% of Toronto-based Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON) for $1.8 billion.
• On Dec. 18, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis (they own Sandoz) inked a deal with British Columbia-based Tilray Inc. to make medical cannabis products available through Novartis’ distribution network in 35 countries.
• On Dec. 20, Belgium-based Anheiser-Busch InBev partnered with Tilray to spend $100 million researching CBD and THC non-alcoholic drinks. Each company will pitch in $50 million. A-B InBev owns Budweiser, Stella Artois, Labatt’s and literally hundreds of other beer brands.
TILRAY CEO BRENDAN KENNEDY: “It’s too early to know how big cannabinoid-based beverages will be, but we think it’s a massive opportunity and it’s something we’re interested in investing aggressively in.”
Previously, Canopy Growth and Hexo Group made deals with alcohol companies Constellation Brands and Molson Coors, respectively. Constellation – which owns Corona, Mondavi and other brands – invested $4 billion in Canopy.
About the A-B InBev deal, Tilray’s CEO Brendan Kennedy stated: “It’s too early to know how big cannabinoid-based beverages