Corona Owner's Marijuana Investment Reaps $700 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Beer and weed is proving to be a promising combo for Constellation Brands Inc.

The owner of Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine says its minority investment last October in Canopy Growth Corp., a Canadian seller of marijuana products, has already realized a gain of more than $700 million.

“Our investment in Canopy is certainly paying off,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Sands said Friday on a conference call with analysts after reporting fiscal first-quarter financial results.

Sands suggested the company might invest in the U.S. market if it would be legal to do so. While marijuana is outlawed at the federal level, Massachusetts will on Sunday become the seventh state to allow recreational sales.

“We are not going to do anything that is volative of federal law, but we are looking closely at that issue and making sure we understand what we can do and what we can’t do,” he said. If it’s legal, “we will do it,” he said.

Constellation paid about about C$245 million ($186 million) for an almost 10 percent stake in Canopy in October. Sands said earlier this year that the alcohol giant and Canopy are developing a pot-laced beverage for the Canadian market.

Earlier this month, Canada legalized recreational marijuana, with a start date of Oct. 17. While edibles, including beverages, won’t be legal initially, the sales potential has companies angling for a place in the market.

Other large U.S.-beer sellers want a piece of the Canadian weed pie. Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Co. was said to have held talks with several Canadian-based marijuana companies.

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