THC Drinks Taking Off, Attracting Major Retailers

THC infused drink with cannabis plant THC drinks
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With the legalization of recreational cannabis becoming law on Aug. 1, grocery stores such as CUB Foods are now adding THC drinks to their liquor store aisles.

THC drinks and edibles are taking off after the recreational cannabis bill cleared the runway for sales in liquor stores and bars and attracted some of the biggest retailers in Minnesota.

Cub Foods is the second biggest grocery chain in the Twin Cities and as soon as this weekend, its liquor stores will start selling THC drinks, putting it at the forefront of a market climbing to higher levels in Minnesota than anywhere else.

“So this right here is our brew tanks,” said Minny Grown CEO Zach Rohr as he explained his business from the ground up.

“One by one, each one of these cans will get filled up,” he said.

Rohr says production and sales have doubled since Gov. Tim Walz signed the recreational cannabis law at the end of May.

Legal marijuana got the headlines, but the law also gave hemp-derived edibles and drinks a legal foot in the door at liquor stores and bars.

“So we’re we’re beginning the process of selling the THC beverages and gummies to our consumers in limited municipalities based on the local regulations that are out there,” said Cub Foods VP of adult beverages Dave Anglum.

Sales start as soon as this weekend at Cub liquor stores in Plymouth, Eagan, Rosemount, and Blaine.

At least a dozen more Cub stores could join them by August.

Any retailer can sell THC edibles now, but Cub is keeping the products in liquor stores where it’s already implemented quality controls and legal checks and balances like age verification.

Smaller liquor stores got in the market first and some retailers say their THC products are selling better than craft beers.

“This category has the potential of being very transformative,” Anglum said. “It could be the next hard seltzers or RTDs — the ready to drinks. I’m not sure it’s the next light beer phase, but it has the capability of becoming a significant category.”

THC beverages and edibles have to be made in Minnesota under state law, so even though Minny Grown is facing stiff competition, Rohr is still buzzing about the new law.

“Hey, our state may be the leaders in cannabis moving forward for the next 20 years,” he said.

Here’s one way to explain why he’s so excited:

California and Colorado each have about 1,000 dispensaries, which are the only places where THC-infused drinks can be sold.

Minnesota has about the same number of bars, plus hundreds of liquor stores and thousands of retailers who can now sell them.