Cannabis Drinks – The Latest Craze in an Evolving Market

About the Episode

Forget the stigma that still exists around cannabis. Paulo Sobral produces a low-level cannabis beverage without alcohol, and he shares insights into the nuances of the cannabis industry and the complex laws that impact cannabis beverage production. He discusses the differences between THC and CBD, touches on issues around the legalization of cannabis and its impact on the industry, comments on the challenges and benefits of how CBD beverages are made, and highlights the growth potential for the cannabis industry.

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“I  think if stigmas and regulations were equal cannabis beverages would outsell alcohol. Granted, stigmas may not be equal, and regulations on a global level may not change in our lifetimes. But once it becomes federally legal, I think it will open up many opportunities for commerce within the states, including interstate commerce. Currently, I cannot leave California with our product and sell it to a retailer in Oregon. But when it becomes federally legal, there could be some ability to do that. More importantly, I think it will trigger the development of infrastructure needed to support the existing market and industry, particularly in terms of manufacturing and distribution. I’ve spoken with alcohol distributors, and contrary to what some people outside this industry might think, they don’t view us as competition. They are in the business of selling drinks to people who want drinks, and they see this as an opportunity. Because alcohol consumption is declining amongst the younger generations, they are eager to explore the next big thing. And I think it is going to be cannabis because a lot of people in the age group of 20 to 28, are not even picking up alcohol, and a lot of them are just starting straight with cannabis.”

Paulo Sobral

In this Episode

1:49 What led Paulo to make the transition from Pepsi to cannabis?
5:02 What does it mean that marijuana is a Schedule I drug?
10:01 Are there implications in the industry from marijuana still not being federally legal?
13:59 How does marijuana prohibition compare with the prohibition of alcohol?
17:05 How does a cannabis product differ from a beverage with cannabis in it?
21:14 What are the challenges in manufacturing beverages with cannabis?
25:36 When was the first cannabis beverage produced?
30:42 To what extent is marijuana still stigmatized?
32:18 How do the levels of THC and CBD vary between various cannabis beverages? Are there different responses to a cannabis beverage vs. cannabis in a different form?
40:21 How is hemp defined by the government, and what impact does this have in the food and beverage market?
45:59 What’s the biggest company that sells cannabis products? How will the market be impacted once marijuana becomes legalized at a federal level?
50:11 What opportunities exist in the cannabis space?
53:47 What is the future for cannabis beverages?

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Resources Mentioned

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive component and one of the 113 cannabinoids recognized in cannabis
  • CBD: Cannabidiol is a chemical compound that comes from cannabis plants
  • DEA: United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  • USDA: United States Department of Agriculture
  • Hemp: the fiber of the cannabis plant, extracted from the stem and used to make rope, strong fabrics, fiberboard, and paper

Meet Our Guest

Paulo Sobral

Paulo Sobral

General Manager for the Platform Beverage at Cann

Paulo Sobral is the General Manager for the Platform Beverage at Cann. Cann is the best-selling multi-national THC beverage in the world. Paulo oversees their expansion into new brands and beverage categories and all revenue-generating activities in the California market.

Paulo has extensive experience working with a diverse spectrum of cannabis beverage brands. His first foray into the category came in 2019 as the first sales hire for Vertosa (then Nanogen), a leading provider of water-soluble cannabinoids. Here, he saw the many challenges in the category and opened his own consulting firm, Drink Cannabis Consulting. Drink Cannabis Consulting led the commercialization of cannabis beverage projects and go-to-market strategy. Paulo has offered his insights to multinational beverage companies and pre-revenue startup companies.

Prior to working in the cannabis industry, Paulo worked in sales management roles at PepsiCo for 6 years. Paulo’s mission in cannabis is to destigmatize cannabis and improve worldwide consumer access.

Location Location: San Francisco California

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