The Ontario government is giving a $300,000 grant to fund research into a new kind of cannabis-derived beverage. Province Brands of Canada - a company specializing in producing cannabis consumables - believes its product will disrupt the alcohol industry.
The drinks will be called Cambridge Bay and Dagga, and should be ready to launch in 2019 once legislation for edible cannabis products is rolled out in Canada.
And they're not the only company investing in cannabis-infused beverages. Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth believes that these drinks will become a dominant product category in the coming years. This is because people already use alcoholic beverages in social settings, so it will feel familiar.
"People might be uncomfortable with a product format that they wouldn’t ordinarily choose to consume. For a lot of adults having (cannabis) gummy bears is not a socially normal format in a gathering of people who are just chatting," Linton told Ottawa Citizen. "So why put up a barrier and ask people to change their behavior?"
Linton added that Canopy's approach is different than other cannabis drinks, which focus on infusing beers and sodas with marijuana. While the new product is being compared to some of those cannabis-infused beers, Linton says his drinks will be something altogether new.
"We are not going to call it beer. Beer is beer. There will be a cannabis beverage selection, which will not be called something it’s not. Beer is beer, wine is wine, vodka is vodka. I’m not making those things. I’m displacing those things."
Linton says their drinks will work similar to alcohol, taking effect within 7–12 minutes, but the feeling the consumer will get would be markedly different.
"It will have the same effect and duration of effect as if you were having a gin and tonic, except it will have no calories and very little to no inter-drug reaction. And it’s not a depressant, as alcohol is. It’s a stimulant to cause you to feel more positive, if that is the aim of that particular beverage."