Toronto-based Province Brands, a Canadian R&D company and an emerging brewer of alcohol-free beers recently announced the filing of a provisional patent around technology to create "world's first beers brewed from the cannabis plant."  The provisional patent's filing date of July 11, 2017, capped months of development on company's novel technology to replace grains with cannabis during the brewing process and laid groundwork for the recent surge of industry partnerships and investment into the company.

Although Canada was the first country in the world to legalize medical marijuana in 2001, edibles and beverages have never been legal, leading many to speculate that they would not become legal even under the government's pending recreational legalization, the company says. This all changed in early October 2017 when the Canadian government made it clear that edibles and beverages would become legal for the first time in Canada.

Since the government's announcement, Constellation Brands, Victory, N.Y., has partnered with Canopy Growth, one of only 84 licensed cannabis producers in Canada. These new developments have brought forth a flush of new investments into the Canadian cannabis sector, which benefits companies like Province Brands. 

"The fact that the first Fortune 500 company to invest in the cannabis space was not a tobacco giant like so many had predicted but was, in fact, Constellation Brands, one of the largest and best-run adult beverage businesses in the world, truly validates our efforts and proves the market for beverages like those Province has been brewing," said Dooma Wendschuh, chief executive officer of Province Brands, in a statement. "We started our company in 2016 when it was not known whether alcohol free beverages, which intoxicate using cannabis or its phytocannabinoids, would ever be legalized in Canada. The government, just a few months ago, made it clear they'd allow [these types of products], and I'd suspect that's what made Constellation Brands step up.

"We have developed great-tasting beers, but we also have valuable intellectual property, incredible developments in the pipeline, and a world-class team with decades of combined experience in the adult beverage industry, and, importantly almost two years working together," Wendschuh continued.

He also reiterated Province's mission to bring a "safer and healthier alternative to alcohol" to market.

Rather than seeing newcomers like Canopy and Constellation as hostile, Wendschuh firmly believes that more competitors entering this market only can be a good thing. "Building a product category takes time, money and creativity," he said. "And that's one thing we can all work on together.”