Coca-Cola is considering adding cannabis drinks to its line of products. The company is specifically looking into creating beverages with cannabidiol (CBD), which is the ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but doesn’t get users high.
Coca-Cola is discussing a possible partnership with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis, reports Bloomberg.
“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers told Bloomberg News in a statement. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.” He did not comment about the connection with Aurora.
Aurora spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said in an emailed statement that the Edmonton, Alberta-based company is interested in the infused-beverage market and intends to expand into that arena. Aurora is the third biggest marijuana company in Canada.
Many beverage makers are experiencing a slowdown in sales, and several are looking towards the marijuana business as a way of boosting growth, Bloomberg noted. For example, Constellation Brands Inc. (Corona, Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey, Svedka Vodka, etc.) is investing $3.8 billion in Canadian weed producer Canopy Growth Corp. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is also planning a line of cannabis drinks in Canada. Heineken NV’s Lagunitas has developed non-alcoholic drinks infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and Diageo PLC, which makes Guinness Beer, is in talks with three Canadian cannabis producers.
As fewer consumers choose soda as their beverage of choice, companies like Coca-Cola have been forced to diversify. The drinks giant also offers juice, tea, and mineral water products, and this summer it announced plans to buy Costa Coffee chain.
Coca-Cola and Aurora are currently in talks, but no deal has been made. The drug will be legalized nationwide on Oct. 17. In the United States, recreational marijuana is legal in just nine states while medical marijuana is legal in 30 states.
More and more people and lawmakers are accepting the use of CBD oil, which is used to treat a variety of ailments, including epilepsy, depression, and the side effects of cancer treatment.
Jimmy Buffett recently announced that he is licensing “Coral Reefer” (also the name of his band) to the medical marijuana company Surterra, the Wallstreet Journal revealed last week.
Surterra plans on making Buffett-branded vape pens, edibles, lotions, and gel caps. Buffett chose Surterra because it currently focuses on medical, not recreational, marijuana.