A Toke and a Smile: Coca-Cola Could Dip Toes in Cannabis Pool | Marijuana

A Toke and a Smile: Coca-Cola Could Dip Toes in Cannabis Pool


By, Gillian Flaccus

The Coca-Cola Co. said it is “closely watching” the expanding use of a cannabis element in drinks, another sign cannabis and cannabis-infused products are getting more acceptance in mainstream culture and a harder look from long-established pillars of American business.

The statement came Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, after reports the beverage giant was in talks with a Canadian cannabis company to create a health drink infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring, non-intoxicating compound derived from the cannabis plant. Shares of the company, Aurora Cannabis Inc., closed up nearly 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the report.

Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment on the report but acknowledged their interest in that segment of the cannabis market.

CBD does not produce the high commonly associated with marijuana — that is due to its more widely known cannabinoid cohort, THC. It is believed by many to have anti-inflammation and pain-relieving properties, and numerous CBD-infused products have emerged recently.

A hemp plant is pollinated April 24, 2018, at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Oregon. The Coca-Cola Co. says that it’s “closely watching” the emerging cannabis-infused beverage sector that is taking hold in Canada. (Associated Press File Photo/Don Ryan)

Aurora spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said her company “has expressed specific interest in the infused-beverage space and we intend to enter that market.”

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said the beverage giant has made no such decision.

“Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly,” said the spokesperson, Kent Landers.

Coca-Cola’s interest is another indication of the growing acceptance of cannabis by established companies and of the importance of Canada to the development of those businesses. Marijuana becomes legal across Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. Cannabis companies from the U.S. — where marijuana remains illegal at the federal level — have flocked to Canada to raise funds and establish businesses there.

American companies interested in making a play in the cannabis space can try things out in Canada without risking doing something illegal at home.

CBD oil fills a syringe in a Colorado State University laboratory Nov. 6, 2017, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Coca-Cola Co. was named in news reports that it plans to collaborate with Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Co. on creating a CBD-infused health drink. Shares of Aurora, which is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, rose 17 percent on the news. A Coca-Cola spokesperson said his company had not made a formal decision. (Associated Press File Photo/David Zalubowski)

Constellation Brands, a giant spirits company that counts Corona beer among its labels, bought a multibillion-dollar minority stake in Canopy Growth, a Canadian medical marijuana producer. Molson Coors Co. was also seeking partnerships with Canadian canna-businesses to stem a decline in its established American and Canadian beer brands.

Coca-Cola’s statement shows the company has learned from its past missteps picking up on new drink trends, said Ali Dibadj, a senior analyst at AllianceBernstein with an expertise in U.S. beverage and snack food companies.

“The company has been caught flat-footed in the past in not keeping up with trends in beverages. They missed the energy drink phenomenon, they missed — and then had to buy into — the functional waters like Vitamin Water, and coffee,” Dibadj said. “I think what they’re saying is what they should be saying on this very new and emerging beverage.”

But testing the waters of cannabis-themed drinks could backfire, he said. Many Americans aren’t intimately familiar with the cannabis plant and might not understand that CBD has no psychoactive properties.

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, and both contain CBD, which can be extracted as an oil that can be added to edibles, topicals, and more.

“I think you have to be very, very careful with this as a large brand. There are different viewpoints on a product category, and you don’t want to offend too much,” Dibadj said. “You don’t want to be too far ahead on any curve.”


Correction, updated Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018: The day of Coca-Cola’s statement was incorrectly reported as Monday, Sept. 18, 2018. The date was Tuesday.

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    • It did indeed, and there was much hoopla when they were forced to delete cocaine. Not at all surprising that Coke would want to get on the CBD bandwagon. I think I prefer a less watered down version though.

    • SlickNickStoner on

      It sure did way back in the early days I think it was around the 1920’s some time or a little before that I think. So why not go with putting weed in some drinks but weed is best all by its self I would have to say

  1. Micheal Hernandez on

    Great , just do me a favor The CBD that I Tried was weak point being , coke the best on the market let’s make it even better 👍🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

  2. Glenn kotchounian on

    I love this idea.as kids me and my freinds always talked about weed being legal and things like this..its great man all my childhood dreams are coming true i love you weed..

  3. Why isn’t American companies like Coca-Cola and Coors working with AMERICAN companies to develop a product?! PURA is a publically traded company that produces and distributes CBD infused sports drinks, for instance.

  4. Can’t wait for the Monsanto strains to hit the shelves, and maybe the Marlboro splifs, and canna-Coors, etc. Welcome to the Cannabis industrial complex. Legalization will be the worst thing for marijuana since Ronald Reagan.

    • Douglas Einer on

      I’ve always fantasized about buying a pack of “Wastado Brand / Rainbow Blend”, in the ‘Can-A-Bliss’ Pack-! LOL-?

  5. Great ;(.. Just what we need… more chemicals associated with our pot supply or visa versa in this case. Organic pot will soon be obsolete if we allow these types of companies to talk us into jumping in bed with them when we all already know the chemicals in soda are bad for you.

  6. Because who more to trust than a company whose signature product crystallizes and forms kidney stones in your urinary tract?

    • Douglas Einer on

      Urine can also “remove stains out of blue jeans”, (IME) and it ‘Comes-From” your “sacred body”-!


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