It seems that, soon enough, Coke really will be “it.”
The Atlanta-based beverage giant revealed that it’s in “serious talks” with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop cannabis-infused drinks as sales of traditional products continue to slow. The area of interest is CBDs, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that helps alleviate pain but will not get you high.
Here’s more from Bloomberg, who broke the news:
“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 said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.” Landers declined to comment on Aurora.
As Bloomberg notes, many beverage makers are considering adding cannabis as an ingredient while their traditional businesses slow:
Last month, Corona beer brewer Constellation Brands Inc. announced it will spend $3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth Corp., the Canadian marijuana producer with a value that exceeds C$13 billion ($10 billion).
Molson Coors Brewing Co. is starting a joint venture with Quebec’s Hexo’s Corp., formerly known as Hydropothecary Corp., to develop cannabis drinks in Canada. Diageo PLC, maker of Guinness beer, is holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal, BNN Bloomberg reported last month. Heineken NV’s Lagunitas craft-brewing label has launched a brand specializing in non-alcoholic drinks infused with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.
Clearly, no beverage company wants to be left behind. And while marijuana is still illegal nationally in the U.S., CBD-derived products that treat illnesses including chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy are quickly gaining mainstream acceptance. Will Pepsi be next?