The cannabis industry is booming. An incredible $6 billion in sales was amassed in North America in 2016 alone and is projected to reach a whopping $50 billion in the next ten years. So it’s no secret that cannabis is the next big thing to invest in. And now even professionals from the beer industry are taking notice.
Former chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the company that brews Budweiser, Chris Burggraeve, has made two major investments. One investment in the San Francisco based startup GreenRush Group, an online platform for people to browse, buy and have cannabis delivered straight to their door. The other in a pre-roll company he co-founded called Toast.
In regards to his decision to move into the cannabis sector Burggraeve said, “This is one of the fastest-growing categories globally. Why? Because people want it. When consumers want something, you ignore it at your peril.” And he’s right. With eight states and the District of Columbia all allowing recreational cannabis, and with Canada soon to follow, the people are making their needs clear: they need weed.
Cannabis is set to be an industry similar to craft beer. Small, artisanal operations fill the majority of the market. Companies like Flow Kana in the U.S. are bringing these small operations together and helping to promote and distribute artisanal cannabis. And it’s not just Burggraeve who’s taken notice. Constellation Brands Inc., the maker of Corona, has made an investment into Canopy Growth Corp., the Canadian giant in medical-marijuana.
These major investments from high rollers in the beer industry show just how big cannabis is getting. Like craft beer before it, what was once a small collection of artisans doing what they do best is now turning into some seriously big business. “The same way that craft beer started and, for the longest time, was ignored and then exploded, there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen in this space,” Burggraeve said. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.