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Molson Coors Canada, the business unit of Molson Coors Brewing Company announced Wednesday that it has entered into a joint venture to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalization.

The companies are aiming to close the deal before September 30, pending certain conditions such as the "execution and delivery of various transaction agreements, including governance documents and R&D and supply agreements". Hydropothecary will own the remaining ownership interest. If Molson Coors can get ahead of everyone, they just might seal the deal for the top cannabis-infused beverage.

"While we remain a beer business at our core, we are excited to create a separate new venture with a trusted partner that will be a market leader in offering Canadian consumers new experiences with quality, reliable and consistent non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages".

Molson Coors's move into the cannabis sector comes after rival Constellation Brands, which makes Corona beer, bought a stake in Canadian pot producer Canopy Growth past year.

In a memo, Euromonitor's head of alcoholic drinks, Spiros Malandrakis, wrote: "There is a paradigm shift underway and cannabis has the potential to provide answers to the alcoholic drinks industry's existential questions".

"We're going to start with THC but also CBD and then CBG". Though cannabis-infused edibles and beverages won't initially fall under the provisions of the law, Molson and Hydropothecary expect those products will become legal sometime in 2019.

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Corona beer distributor Constellation Brands Inc. invested $245 million for a 9.9 per cent stake in Canada's largest licensed cannabis producer, Canopy Growth, last year.

Adults in states with legal cannabis binge drink an average of 13% fewer times per month than those in states without legal recreational marijuana, according to Vivien Azer, a cannabis industry analyst at the investment bank Cowen.

HEXO is one of Canada's lowest-cost producers of medical cannabis products, and the company is rapidly expanding into the recreational market by expanding their current 300,000 sq. ft. of production capacity by adding 1 million more square feet by year's end.

Its stock closed up 11.03 per cent or 0.48 cents to $4.83 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Revenues for the period ended June 30 slipped to almost US$3.1 billion, slightly below expectations. The company reported $1.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $1.83 by $0.05.


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