Green Leaf Medical On Launching A Marijuana-Infused Beer

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Source – https://www.forbes.com/sites/bethkaiserman/2019/01/25/green-leaf-medical-marijuana-beer/#4d433d213fd7

Philip Goldberg, CEO of Green Leaf Medical, wants consumers to drink in marijuana’s benefits through a new IPA collaboration with Flying Dog Brewery.

Green Leaf Medical has partnered with the popular brewery, its neighbor in Frederick, Maryland, to create a cannabis-infused beer called Hop Chronic IPA. The beer is non-alcoholic and provides a new way to consume marijuana without smoking or vaping, Goldberg said.

“We’re always trying to be ahead of the curve and think Flying Dog is the same way,” Goldberg said. “It’s really a perfect match.”

But the drink is not yet legal. The state of Maryland does not yet allow medical marijuana companies to sell marijuana edibles. If approved, the beer would only be available in Maryland until marijuana is legalized nationwide, with the “420” bill possibly passing in 2019.

There are cannabis-infused drinks on the Maryland market though, including iced tea, lemonade and powdered drink mixes, Goldberg said. So he expects Hop Chronic IPA to be approved.

“We’re positioning ourselves early, and everything will be done within the law in our state,” he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing progress at the federal level.”

Infusing the beer has to take place at Green Leaf’s lab, since Flying Dog cannot bottle and package a drink with THC, and equipment is still being set up for that, Goldberg said. The company will likely offer multiple versions with varying doses of THC, he said.

Green Leaf Medical holds cultivation, extraction and retail licenses in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, and its “gLeaf” brand has produced and sold nearly 2 million grams of medical cannabis.

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It holds one of 25 Grower/Processor licenses in Pennsylvania, and its cultivation application in Maryland received the highest score in the state. Green Leaf recently acquired one of just five medical cannabis licenses for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The opioid crisis is staggering in Frederick County, Goldberg said, and he thinks marijuana can play a great role in fighting that. He mentioned a nearby jail that lists opioid-related deaths and overdoses in the county, with numbers in the hundreds just for Frederick County. The Maryland Behavioral Health Administration has instituted a plan for 2019 to fight the epidemic.

“That’s really opened people’s eyes,” he said. “So many people are beginning to use cannabis and move away from opiates because we’re offering these alternatives.”

While forming the company, Goldberg and his brother, Kevin, met with cancer patients, caregivers and parents of children with seizure disorders. This is what made them passionate about the blooming cannabis industry.

“We really have our eye toward the patient,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out novel ways to provide relief to patients for a variety of ailments.”

Green Leaf posted positive net operating income of about 22% in 2018 and is on track to meet its 2020 revenue projections of $111 million.

Green Leaf and Flying Dog plan to continue collaborating, finding inspiration in both the beers and strains to create new products. For example, Flying Dog could produce a beer with hints of chocolate flavoring to pair with Green Leaf’s L.A. Chocolate strain, Goldberg said.

Hopheads have likely noticed similar tastes between fresh hops and cannabis, so this pairing makes perfect sense. Plus, the market for non-alcoholic beer and wine was worth $16 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow, according to GMI Insights.

The lines between healthy and not continue to be blurred, but this one seems like a sip in the right direction.

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