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Canopy Growth Corp wants to be the Google of weed

Bruce Linton

BRUCE LINTON
CEO Bruce Linton says Canopy Growth Corp (Canopy Growth Corp Stock Quote, Chart TSX:WEED) will have a drinkable form of cannabis ready for the fourth quarter of this year, in time for the legalization of edibles in Canada and part of an overall branding effort Linton hopes will make Canopy the Google of cannabis.

What a difference a year makes.

Last March, investors were still hungover from the first round of cannabis mania to hit the market, with industry leader Canopy Growth falling back from an early January, 2018, high of $44.00. At the time, those lofty heights seemed remarkable for an industry yet to be born.

But there was more to come: in the lead-up to October and the start of Canada’s adult-use market, Canopy again led the way, and then this January, as if to turn away any last doubters, the stock jumped 80 per cent, holding onto those gains through all of February.

It’s that tenacity that one finds in Linton, who sees Canopy dominating not just the rec and edibles markets in Canada, in the US and globally but also cannabis’ entry into the medical and wellness sectors, all part of the plan to make pot and Canopy synonymous.

Speaking to CNBC Thursday, Linton said, “When you look at it, good science leads to great products which turns into the reason people want them. I shouldn’t pick on Google but Google is a perfect example of great science that once it works really well, if you put a name like Google on it, it’s actually a great brand.”

“But it wasn’t [always] a great brand, it was a great platform. We’re trying to do the same with cannabis,” he says. “Which is to make it so specifically amazing for each of its purposes that when we put a brand on it and we say, ‘Would you like a Tweed and tonic?’ you’re going to say, ‘Absolutely,’ or ‘Would you like this for your parents to sleep in the aged care home?’ you’re going to say, ‘Absolutely,’ and that brand will ring for you.”

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The edibles market in Canada is expected to open by October 17 of this year, according to Health Canada, which in December released proposed regulations for the sector including limits to the dosage of THC allowable in products.

Linton says Canopy’s partnership with alcohol giant Constellation Brands has been crucial in getting his company ready for edibles and drinkables, which together could constitute a significant portion of the mature pot market.

“The science of how to make the drink was something we have been working on and we think we’ve done a good job of it,” he says. “The [discussion with Constellation has been about] how should it taste, how bubbly should it be and who’s going to pay what for what format has been great. So when you put those two things together, you think about a great product in a really well-thought out brand, aiming at segments, and our goal is that that is a live product in Q4 if the regulations permit, which by all indications Canada is going to be doing that.”

Linton’s advice to the US and, ultimately, the rest of the world?

“Look north, see the petri dish and then wonder where does it impact globally. Q4 could be that window,” he says.

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About The Author /

Jayson MacLean
Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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