On October 17, Canada made history as it became the second country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana nationwide. While many are still celebrating, others are seeing green in the form of dollar signs. Molson Coors, the well-known beer producer, has been in a slump for the past few years as Amy Michtich, chief supply chain officer at Molson Coors Canada, explained. “Our business is tough right now. Our share continues to underperform, and so do our stocks.” Michtich claims that consumers across the globe are drinking less alcohol, and those who do are beginning to prefer wine and spirits over beer. As Canada moved to legalize cannabis, and provided easier access to an extremely popular alternative to beer, one would’ve expected the beer makers to be quaking in their boots. However, the opposite turned out to be the case: Molson Coors is instead looking to produce cannabis-infused beer. Michtich claims that the main change will be in the food and beverage logistics: “At the end of the day, it is really changing the supply chain,” she said. “The alcohol industry has been tapped to make sure we understand what the regulations are for us to distribute.” Currently, cannabis-infused food and drink products are not included in the legalization law, but Molson expects the products to become legal by the next year. With commercial logistics (which includes warehousing and distribution services) embodying such a large part of the supply chain (90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs are shipped via truck throughout Canada), it is vital that trucking companies and carriers are prepared to keep pace with any updates. If the change coming is as profound as Michtich believes it will be, those involved in commercial logistics need to be ready. Michtich’s beliefs and expectations have been supported by current demand. As soon as cannabis became legal, the supply chain was drawn taut; demand was far greater than supply, and the details of transportation had not quite been worked out yet. As a result, many companies understood the likelihood of marijuana shortages within the first few months of the law going into effect. They had been proven correct as the supply chain is slowly working to balance itself out.
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