Last October, Constellation Brands Inc.—an international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits, and a behemoth in the alcohol industry—signed a $191 million deal for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s first publicly traded cannabis company. The unprecedented deal broke new ground and created new possibilities for both industries.
“That deal had a huge ripple effect,” says Lisa Campbell, co-creator of Green Market pop-up events, which are essentially farmers’ markets for craft cannabis producers, and well-attended despite being illegal. “All these alcohol companies are now getting into cannabis in a really big way,” Campbell says. “And all these cannabis companies are trying to get into the alcohol industry because they have massive coffers.”
“The advantage of an agency in the supply chain is that agencies are tastemakers.”
Campbell has developed an extensive network of contacts in the cannabis industry through Green Market and her history of advocacy. She also has family connections in the alcohol industry, and for her next move, Campbell’s merging her cannabis advocacy with the family business and going legal.
Campbell’s father, Steve, is the co-founder of Lifford Wine & Spirits, a company that distributes alcohol products that can’t be purchased in Ontario’s government-controlled liquor stores (LCBOs). What started as a small agency now operates across Canada with products sourced from 18 countries. The LCBO will also be in charge of cannabis sales in Ontario, selling products in separate retail locations. Once legalized, Lifford Wine & Spirits will add cannabis to their portfolio.
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“I think a lot of the stuff I did with the Green Market is parallel, almost exactly, in terms of acting like an agency,” Campbell says. “Green Market is a portfolio of