Coke may move into cannabis-infused drinks

Coca-Cola, Aurora in talks about making cannabis-infused drinks: report

: Coca-Cola is 'closely watching' the cannabis space — and is reportedly eyeing a deal with one of Canada’s biggest producers (KO)

The sources said that Coca-Cola (KO.N), the world's largest beverage company, is interested in developing beverages that are infused with cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants.

'The space is evolving quickly. "No decisions have been made at this time".

The development is viewed to cushion Coca-Cola from the adverse effects of its declining sales and also a move to further diversify beyond its traditional base of sugary beverages.

According to Bloomberg, Coca-Cola is in talks with a Canadian marijuana producer.

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Auroa has a "specific interest in the infused beverage space" and intends to enter that market, the Canadian company told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.

Kent Landers, a spokesman from Coca-Cola, declined to comment about Aurora. Moreover, the leak sent shares of Aurora surging in early morning trading, with stock prices jumping 16 percent on Monday, holding at US$7.61 as of Monday afternoon. "There is so much happening in this area right now and we think it has incredible potential", said Aurora's director of communications Heather MacGregor in an emailed statement.

In a clarification, Coca-Cola stated on Monday, "We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis". Cannabidiol - or CBD - is not a mind-altering or psychoactive substance, while its relative, tetrahydrocannabinol - or THC - is.

So, with fizzy drinks are becoming increasingly unpopular (no thanks to our pal, Jamie Oliver), Bloomberg reports that the the global franchise is looking to delve into the cannabis sector. The company, with its iconic brands ranging from Coke and Sprite to Powerade, announced it will acquire the Costa Coffee chain for $5.1 billion in August, and has expanded into other products including juice, tea and mineral water over the past decade.

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Although Canada is gearing up to legalize marijuana for recreational use on October 17, beverages infused with the plant's active ingredients won't be legal until sometime in 2019.

In the USA, medicinal use is allowed in 29 states and the District of Columbia and nine of the states have legalised both medical and personal cannabis use.

Aurora is Canada's third-largest pot company, with a market value of approximately $7 billion.

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