Coca-Cola looking at cannabis-infused 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.
"We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis," Coca-Cola said in a statement. But iconic soft drink producer is "closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world."
Cannabidiol is a chemical in marijuana that does not have the intoxicating effects of THC, the major active ingredient that causes the "high." It has been used to treat epilepsy and other maladies.
"The space is evolving quickly," Coca-Cola said. "No decisions have been made at this time."
Coca-Cola's statement comes amid reports the company has held talks with Canada's Aurora Cannabis to develop beverages. Some of Coca-Cola's trademark cola products have struggled to grow sales in recent years due to health concerns.
Canada is set to legalize cannabis on October 17 after both houses of Parliament voted to make the drug available for recreational use.
That move has been seen as a potential prelude to further legalization in the United States, even though recreational use of marijuana is still only permitted in a handful of states.
Beer giant Molson Coors announced August 1 it was teaming up with Canadian medical marijuana grower The Hydropothecary Corporation to develop cannabis-infused non-alcoholic beverages.
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.