Michigan votes to ban cannabis-infused drinks

With increasing number of industry players announcing interest in cannabis, Michigan has voted to ban all cannabis-infused drinks in a pre-emptive move should the state legalise marijuana for recreational use next month.

The legislation, which was approved by the state house yesterday (2 October) with a 101-4 vote, is expected to gain the signature of the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder.

If given final approval, it would mean that drinks including beer, wine, spirits and RTD products infused with cannabis would be banned in the state should recreational marijuana be legalised.

The reason given for the ban is that cannabis-infused alcohol could worsen the effects of drink driving.

Others, however, argue that the sale of cannabis infused drinks would be banned anyway, given the federal ban on marijuana. Michigan borders Canada which is expected to legalise recreational cannabis on 17 October.

While cannabis drinks is still a small and emerging market, many key players in the drinks industry have expressed an interest in joining the sector.

Most recently, it was announced that Californian cannabis-focused agriculture company Terra Tech had linked up with Washington-based cannabis drinks maker Valiente to produce a non-alcoholic sparkling wine infused with cannabis called ‘IVXX’.

Others known or reported to have expressed an interest are Coca-Cola, Diageo, Molson Coors and Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

Meanwhile, Constellation Brands, which bought a stake in Canadian company Canopy Growth in October last year, increased its stake in the business in August, investing US$4 billion to acquire a 38% share. The new deal, which it claims is “the largest to date in the cannabis space,” cements Canopy Growth as its exclusive global cannabis partner. Constellation said that the funds will enable Canopy Growth to “build and/or acquire key assets” in around 30 countries that are legally developing a medical cannabis programmes.

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