Coca-Cola Considers Marijuana-Infused Beverage

Those who like to relax and unwind with an ice cold Coca-Cola may have an entirely new way to do [...]

Those who like to relax and unwind with an ice cold Coca-Cola may have an entirely new way to do so in the near future. The soft drink company is reportedly monitoring the cannabis industry — and is specifically interested in drinks infused with CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain without a resulting high.

The Atlanta-based beverage company is reportedly in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the drinks, according to Bloomberg.

"We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world," Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers told Bloomberg News. "The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time."

In a clarification, Coca-Cola stated on Monday, "We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis."

Aurora Cannabis has also expressed interested in producing cannabis drinks. The company did not comment to Bloomberg on a possible deal.

"There is so much happening in this area right now and we think it has incredible potential," said Aurora spokesperson Heather MacGregor. "Stories like this are further validation of the massive global potential of the cannabis industry."

Coke isn't the first company to look into cannabis-infused drinks. Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona beer, Svedka vodka and Casa Noble tequila, announced in August that it's investing an additional $4 billion in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. Lagunitas, a craft beer label of Heineken, already has a drink infused with THC, which can be purchased at marijuana dispensaries in California.

Under United States federal law, both cannabis and CBD are illegal, although a handful of states have legalized marijuana. While the federal law prohibiting usage of CBD is not strictly enforced, CNN Money reports that it's unlikely Coke will offer a product infused with CBD in the U.S. — until federal law changes.

Kris Krane, president of 4Front, a firm that advises companies on the legalities of marijuana, told CNN Money that he would expect Coke to develop the product first for sale in Canada, preparing it for the U.S. once it's legal.

Canada is in the process of legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Coke tested the waters in the alcoholic beverage business earlier this year, when it announced it would be launching an alcoholic drink in the Japanese market — its first alcoholic drink in the company's 125-year history. The drink will be called alcopop, or Chu-Hi, a low-alcohol canned drink that typically includes sparkling water and flavoring.

"We're also going to experiment with a product in a category known in Japan as Chu-Hi. This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally, it is made with a distilled beverage called shōchū and sparkling water, plus some flavoring. We haven't experimented in the low alcohol category before, but it's an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas," Jorge Garduño, president of Coca-Cola's Japan business unit, said on the company's website.