Sep 5, 2019

Canopy CEO eyes 'big prize' ahead of legal edibles

Canopy Growth CEO says 50 edibles products in pipeline


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As Canopy Growth Corp. searches for a new chief executive officer, its current boss is staying focused on the next wave of cannabis products set to hit the market.

“We need to see more stores come online and we need to see the value-add ‘Cannabis 2.0’ products come in,” said Mark Zekulin, Canopy Growth’s CEO, during an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Thursday.

“For us, when we talk about those products, we have over 50 different products in the pipeline that we’re developing: From chocolates, to vape pens to, of course, beverages.”

Constellation Brands Inc., which bottles Corona and Modelo among many other beer and spirits brands, invested $245 million for a 9.9 per stake in Canopy Growth in October 2017. The beverage company significantly upped its stake in August 2018 to 38 per cent after investing $5 billion in the cannabis giant. However, Constellation Brands said it expects to book a US$132.5 million loss over the past six months directly related to its investment in Canopy Growth.

Zekulin said he’s excited for that partnership with Constellation to continue as Canada shifts towards the legalization of edibles, with products expected to hit the market as early as late December.

“This is an exciting proposition and it’s a combination of our own cannabis intellectual property with the know-how from Constellation on building a bottling plant and market segmentation,” Zekulin said. “It’s going to be great to bring that to market and to bring that to consumers.”

The move to edibles and hopes of global expansion are just two of the most recent developments that have players in the nascent cannabis industry eyeing big-time profits.

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“There is a big prize at the end of this,” Zekulin said. “The cannabis sector is still in its infancy. You have a market that is globally going to be worth many hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Constellation’s investment was instrumental to changing the face of Canopy Growth after Bruce Linton, the company’s co-founder and de facto face of the industry, was handed his walking papers in July.

Zekulin said Linton’s departure came as something of a surprise.

“It certainly came about abruptly, but, at the end of the day, there was a difference in personality, opinions and where we are today,” he said.

However, Zekulin added the company’s focus will not be on the one person tabbed to lead it as Canopy Growth eyes global profitability.

“I do think we need to step back and recognize that this company is not about Bruce, it’s not about Mark. And as excited as we are about the new CEO, it’s not about that person either,” he said.

“This is a company of 4,000 people around the world who all believe in a culture, a product, a company and building, truly, a world-class company that can seize that multi-hundred-billion dollar opportunity.”

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new – and controversial – Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.