Dixie Elixirs chief Tripp Keber (Brennan Linsley, Associated Press file)

Dixie Elixirs inks infused-product licensing deal to expand Down Under

Updated Nov. 12, 2015 at 8:20 p.m.

One week after announcing a deal to put its products into Oregon and Arizona pot shops, the licensing arm of Denver-based Dixie Elixirs on Thursday announced its first international foray — into Australia and New Zealand.

Dixie Brands and its Australian partner, Cann Group, announced two licensing agreements Thursday night at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas.

The first deal will help launch Dixie-branded, Cann Group-formulated topicals and cosmetics infused with nonpsychoactive cannabinoid CBD in Australia and New Zealand early next year. The second will bring Dixie’s full line of THC-infused edibles, topicals and tinctures to market if and when medical marijuana programs launch in Australia and New Zealand.

“Essentially, Dixie has signed a license agreement with our company to bring all of Dixie’s product lines now, and whatever they come up with, to Australia and New Zealand,” Cann Group CEO Michael Murchison said in an interview Thursday. “It’s a long-term agreement to represent Dixie’s brand in our territory.”

The Australian government in mid-October announced proposed changes to its Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 that would allow medical marijuana to be legally grown.

The sudden movement in Australia has kick-started medical pot legalization conversations in nearby New Zealand, where associate health minister Peter Dunne recently said the country was “highly likely” to follow Australia if the country’s trial medical marijuana products are approved.

Dixie is believed to be the first U.S. marijuana company to announce an expansion to Australia and New Zealand. Its first international deal took two years to hammer out, and CEO Tripp Keber said he hopes the CBD-only line of health and beauty products will help Dixie become a household name.

“We also look forward to serving the medicinal cannabis patient with our suite of safe, reliable and consistent Dixie Elixirs and edibles products as soon as Australian and New Zealand legislation allows,” Keber said in a statement.

On Nov. 4, Dixie announced its expansion into Oregon’s legal marijuana market — via a licensing agreement with Oregon cannabis oil company Golden Leaf.

A day later, Dixie announced a licensing agreement with Bloom Dispensaries to bring its products to Arizona, where infused foods and drinks now account for less than 10 percent of the medical cannabis market, chief operating officer Chuck Smith said.

While U.S. law tolerates marijuana production in states that have legalized it, the Justice Department doesn’t allow interstate commerce — forcing legal pot businesses such as Dixie to license their brands and proprietary formulations to partner businesses in other states or countries. Dixie Elixirs created Dixie Brands in 2014.

Ricardo Baca: 303-954-1394, rbaca@denverpost.com or @bruvs