More on the “vaping” Issue: How it affects the industry overall, and the beverage sector, in particular. (Taken from the Cannabis Investor’s News Letter, November 4, 2019)

While vape sales have fallen in four big markets, sales of edibles are picking up the pieces… The Cannabis Investor’s Report that was just released on Friday, focused on how the vaping crisis is affecting the industry. While it seems to be products from the illicit market that are making people sick, the crisis is weighing on the legal market. In Colorado, vape products accounted for 19.4% of total cannabis sales on August 23, but they had dropped to 12.4% of sales by September 23. Consequently, one of the topics I wrote about was how even though vaping sales may decline, we could see an increase in edible sales.

“Edibles are a good introductory product for people who are new to cannabis, but they are even better products for those who want to stop using vaporizers.” It’s difficult to track if the vaping issue will increase edible sales directly; increased access, better products, and more consumer education about the products are all reasons edible sales could increase. But early data shows edible sales have climbed in four states while vaping sales are down in those same four states. And that’s a sign that Cannabis 2.0 is still on track for a successful launch… Get Ready for Cannabis 2.0 Canada will launch vape products in mid-December, which isn’t ideal considering what is happening in the United States. You can be assured that our neighbors to the north are watching this issue closely, and it is weighing on the minds of Canadian cannabis enthusiasts. Without being able to identify what exactly is causing the sickness and deaths, everyone needs to have their guard up. But the theme being spread around by some news outlets that the vaping crisis will completely derail the industry is simply untrue. Even if vaping sales slow for the time being, it’s not like cannabis enthusiasts will completely stop using cannabis. They will buy things like pre-rolled joints, flower to smoke out of bongs, and edibles.

From the time the first vaping-related death was reported on August 23 to October 6, edible sales as a part of total cannabis sales increased in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Washington.

That’s a sign of what could happen in Canada.

The Cannabis-Infused Beverage Gold Rush Companies in Canada are racing to get food and drinks infused with THC and CBD on the shelves in dispensaries by mid-December. This will open up a whole new revenue source for firms who can execute on this golden opportunity. Truss Beverage Company – the joint venture between Molson Coors Canada and Hexo Inc. (NYSE: HEXO) – will have two CBD-infused beverages rolling out that are infused with 10 milligrams of CBD each. Between now and 2020, Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) will roll out a CBD-infused cucumber sparkling water, as well as a psychoactive ginger ale.

Photo Credit: Canopy Growth

It will take some time for the issues with vaping products to get settled, but that just means edibles will have an even bigger spotlight.

We at HighBridge found the last segment of particular interest: the Cannabis Infused Beverage GoldRush!. Although the Industry in the U.S. seems to be far ahead of that in Canada, U.S. markets have tended to follow those in Canada. This, we believe, reinforces the HighBridge philosophy that creating a recognizable, premium brand & acquiring significant market share, will inevitably lead to a higher intrinsic value for HIghBridge. Which, in turn, should be reflected in a higher multiple valuation in the public sector.