Coke eyes cannabis-infused drink market

Coca-Cola Considers Infusing Marijuana Into Drinks

Coca-Cola in Talks to Make Marijuana-Infused Soft Drink

The statement came after reports the beverage giant was in talks with a Canadian cannabis company to create a health drink infused with cannabidiol, a naturally occurring non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant.

As Bloomberg reports, the company is already in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis, as it works to develop the special Coke blend.

The Coca-Cola Company says that it's "closely watching" the growth of the use of a non-psychoactive element of cannabis in wellness drinks.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog called the news "an exciting potential development" as it would take Coke into another fast-growing healthier segment following last month's $5.1 billion deal for Costa Coffee and expand cannabis-infused drinks in the area of functional wellness products. "No decisions have been made at this time".

Landers declined to comment on Aurora.

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In Canada, a company known as Molson Coors Brewing Co. partnered with a cannabis maker- Quebec's Hexo's Corp.to manufacture cannabis drinks. Tilray jumped 6.8 percent, adding to its 40 percent gain last week; Cronos rose 3.1 percent and Canopy's USA shares climbed 2.9 percent.

Besides Aurora, she said cannabis companies Tilray (TLRY.O) and Aphria (APH.TO) were likely targets for partnerships with big consumer companies looking to get into the market.

Coke's possible foray into the marijuana sector comes as beverage makers are trying to add cannabis as a trendy ingredient while their traditional businesses slow.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, does not produce the high commonly associated with marijuana. It has been used to treat epilepsy and other maladies. The first-ever medical treatment derived from a marijuana plant will hit the USA market soon, after regulators in June gave an epilepsy treatment by GW Pharmaceuticals the green light.

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