Coca-Cola reportedly in talks with Aurora to develop cannabis drinks

by Ben Pena September 20, 2018, 1:23
Coca-Cola reportedly in talks with Aurora to develop cannabis drinks

Shares of Aurora popped more than 15% on the report, but the company did not confirm the discussions.

Beverage giant Coca-Cola is seriously considering investing in a new line of cannabis-infused wellness drinks.

Coca-Cola said Monday it is studying the use of a key ingredient in marijuana in "wellness beverages", as a growing number of mainstream companies develop cannabis-infused drinks.

Both Coke and Aurora, in separate statements, said they were interested in cannabidiol infused beverages but could not comment on any market speculation.

"The space is evolving quickly", spokesman Ken Landers told Bloomberg. "No decisions have been made at this time".

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Sales in USA legal markets should almost triple to US$16 billion by 2020 from US$5.4 billion in 2015, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, and Constellation says cannabis globally could be worth US$200 billion in 15 years.

In addition, a number of Canadian cannabis companies, including Cronos and MedMen Enterprises, now trade on United States stock exchanges, and some American companies have taken stakes.

Two weeks later, spirits company Constellation Brands announced a new $4 billion in investment in Canada's Canopy Growth in exchange for a 38 percent stake in Canopy.

Bloomberg says Molson Coors Brewing is starting a joint-venture with Quebec-based Hydropothecary Corp., and Diageo, PLC, maker of Guinness is looking at a possible deal with at least three Canadian cannabis producers. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and doesn't produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

While marijuana remains illegal at the national level in the USA, there is growing acceptance of the use of CBD derived from marijuana to treat illnesses ranging from chronic pain to anxiety and epilepsy. The BI Canada Cannabis Competitive Peers Index has more than doubled in the past 12 months, though has dropped 24 per cent in 2018 on concern that the stocks are overvalued.

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