As more states in the US have chosen to legalize commercial sales of cannabis, several alcohol companies have invested in the sector. The global alcohol giant Diageo have yet to make any major investments but are actively lobbying cannabis policy.
According to data published by OpenSecrets, Diageo spent more than $2.7 million on lobbying during 2021, only in the US. Data also shows that more than 86% of Diageo lobbyist previously had government jobs.
Major tobacco and alcohol companies have taken notice of the cannabis legalization trend in North America, making sizable investments, and engaging in lobbying activities. The tobacco giant Altria joined forces with alcohol companies Constellation Brands and Molson Coors in forming The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation – a lobbying organization working for legalization of cannabis.
Diageo and Pernod Ricard have previously confirmed they are “monitoring” the space, looking for opportunities to increase sales and profits. There have also been discussions around investments between Diageo and at least three Canadian cannabis firms.
It’s also clear that the beer and spirits giant are now investing in lobbying around cannabis policy in the US. Diageo have reported lobbying on “marijuana taxes and regulatory issues” in a senate report, and are also part of the alcohol industry front group Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, who have lobbied extensively on cannabis related legislation lately.
Read more about why big alcohol sees cannabis as an opportunity here.