Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), the world’s largest beverage maker, said late Monday that it is interested in the burgeoning marijuana-infused drinks market – issuing a statement following media reports that the company is engaged in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSX: ACB)
BNN Bloomberg first reported that Coca-Cola and Aurora Cannabis are engaged in negotiations to develop marijuana-infused beverages. Coke has been diversifying its product line in recent months to overcome declining sales for its sodas. The company has expanded into coffee and health-focused beverages, and is not ruling out a move into marijuana, which becomes legal in Canada nationwide on October 17.
News of a potential deal with Coca-Cola sent the share price of publicly traded Aurora Cannabis up 22 per cent in Monday trading. Coke’s stock rose slightly on the news.
Many analysts forecast that marijuana-based drinks will be the next big thing in the beverage market. And while several blue-chip corporations have expressed interest in marijuana products, many American companies remain leery about getting into a business that remains illegal under U.S. federal law.
Should a partnership between Coke and Aurora materialize, it would be the first entry of a non-alcoholic beverage maker into the cannabis products market, following on the heels of several alcohol producers that are moving to make marijuana drinks.
In separate statements released Monday, Coca-Cola and Aurora each said that they are interested in cannabidiol infused beverages but would not comment further on the matter.
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