Molson Coors Canada, the business arm of Molson Coors Brewing Co., says it has entered into a joint venture to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.
Recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Canada on Oct.17, but edible products infused with pot will remain illegal until specific government regulations are rolled out in 2019 at the earliest.
The brewer says the venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation (HEXO) will be a standalone start-up with its own board and management team, with Molson Coors Canada having a 57.5 per cent interest and HEXO holding the balance.
The joint venture is subject to various approvals conditions and is scheduled to close before Sept. 30.
HEXO, based in Gatineau, currently has more than 300,000 square feet of production capacity with an expansion more than three times that size to be completed by the end of the year.
"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," said Molson Coors Canada president and CEO Frederic Landtmeters.
"Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment," he said.
"We are excited about this partnership with Molson Coors Canada ... as we embark on the journey of building a brand new market," added HEXO CEO and co-founder Sebastien St-Louis.