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Constellation to acquire stake in Canadian marijuana company

Constellation Brands says it will be acquiring a minority stake in a Canadian marijuana company. The Victor-based wine, beer and spirits corporation is buying a piece of Canopy Growth Corporation, described as a leading provider of medical cannabis products.

A statement from Constellation says this investment is consistent with the company’s long-term strategy to “identify, meet and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends and market dynamics, while maintaining focus on its core total beverage alcohol business.”

Constellation says it has no plans to sell any cannabis products in the U.S. or any other market unless or until it is legally permissible to do so at all government levels.

In its statement, Constellation’s President and CEO Rob Sands says that Canopy Growth “has a seasoned leadership team that understands the legal, regulatory and economic landscape for an emerging market that is predicted to become a significant consumer category.”  He also said that, “our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”

Although Monday’s press release didn’t get into detail about how marijuana might fit into Constellation’s product lineup, in an interview with Bloomberg last year Rob Sands said that the industry was expected to be looking at alcoholic beverages that also include cannabis.

On Tuesday, when asked about that by WXXI News, Constellation released this statement:

"Our investment and relationship provides the opportunity to learn more about this emerging trend and evaluate potential product opportunities if or when recreational use is legalized at all levels. We have no plans to sell any cannabis products in the U.S. or other markets unless and until it is legally permissible to do so."

While the U.S. has not agreed to legalize marijuana on a national basis at this point, Canada reportedly may be moving in that direction next year.

Constellation is taking about a 10 percent stake in Canopy Growth, which is about $191 million in U.S. dollars.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.