Coke may move into cannabis-infused drinks

Even though the talks between Coca-Cola and Aurora Cannabis are not confirmed, Aurora's stocks soared due to the news breaking, jumping as much as 23 percent on Monday in NY to nearly $10.

Coca-Cola is said to be in discussions with Aurora Cannabis to develop beverages infused with CBD, one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

Shares of Aurora were up almost 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report.

Hard on the heels of a US$5.1-billion deal to buy Costa Coffee last month, analysts said a move into marijuana-infused drinks fit with Coke's moves toward a healthier product portfolio.

As cannabis legalization becomes more and more widespread, and nations like Canada federally drop barriers to entry, large companies like Coca-Cola are inevitably going to jump into the fast growing market.

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.

And Lagunitas, a craft beer label of brewing giant Heineken, already has a drink infused with THC, marijuana's active ingredient, which does produce a high. "It's going to be more of the "recovery drink" category". The Edmonton, Alberta-based company has soared along with other pot stocks in Canada as the country gears up to become the first Group of Seven nation to legalize cannabis on October 17. The drug is still illegal under USA federal law, although some states have decriminalized it.

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

While neither company confirmed the talks, Coca-Cola said it was "closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world". It does not cause intoxication.

Monday's report also catalyzed a rally in other marijuana stocks.

  • Anthony Vega