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Sarah Halzack

Pot Is No Miracle Cure for What Ails Big Food

The industry has enough challenges without diving into a highly unpredictable new line of business.

Not coming to a supermarket near you soon.

Not coming to a supermarket near you soon.

Photographer: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

There’s been a frenzy of activity in the cannabis market, but so far, major packaged-food companies and soft-drink makers have largely opted to sit on the sidelines. And that’s exactly as it should be, because the nascent green rush isn’t the answer to their problems. 

Among old-guard consumer-goods companies, the trailblazers in exploring the marijuana market have been the giants in beer, wine and spirits, as my colleague Tara Lachapelle has noted. Constellation Brands Inc., for example, amassed a nearly 40 percent stake in pot producer Canopy Growth Corp. Big Tobacco may well follow their lead, with reports circulating last month that Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is in talks to buy a stake in Canada’s Aphria Inc.