Coca Cola is zeroing in on the cannabis market

The company says it's watching closely the CBD-infused drinks market, but declined to comment on a report it is in talks with Canada's third largest weed company.

by Tamara Khandaker
Sep 17 2018, 5:03pm

Coca Cola may be jumping into the weed business, according to a media report, which says the beverage giant is interested in producing CBD-infused drinks and is in talks with Canada’s third largest weed company.

First reported by BNN Bloomberg Television, the company is in discussions with Aurora Cannabis Inc., to develop the drinks, which would be infused with CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which can be used to treat things like inflammation, pain and cramping, but which doesn’t get you high.

“Aurora has expressed specific interest in the infused beverage space, and we intend to enter that market,” said Aurora spokesperson Heather MacGregor in a statement to VICE News. “There is so much happening in this area right now and we think it has incredible potential.”

“As a rule, we do not discuss business development initiatives until they are finalized, however we have a responsibility to our shareholders to give proper consideration to all relevant opportunities that are presented,” the statement continued.

"We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis," said Coca Cola in a statement. "Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time."

In an email to VICE News, spokesperson Ken Landers declined to comment on speculation of talks with Aurora.

Coca Cola is just the latest beverage company to jump into the fray, as full legalization of marijuana use in Canada approaches on October 17. News of the potential partnership comes shortly after it was revealed that Molson Coors Brewing Co. is developing drinks with Hydropothecary Corp., and Corona maker Constellation Brands announced it is increasing its stake in Canopy Growth Corp. by $3.8 billion. In June, northern California brewery Lagunitas launched a brand of sparkling water infused with THC.

Cover image of a delivery van is painted with artwork for Classic Coca-Cola in downtown Pittsburgh. Coca-Cola Co. reports earnings Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Keith Srakocic/AP