News coming in about the carbonated beverages giant Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) shows that the company is seriously thinking about a new product line of “wellness” drinks that are infused with cannabidiol (CBD), one of the non-psychoactive ingredients in cannabis.
News of Coca-Cola’s interest emerged after it was revealed that the company was engaged in talks with Aurora Cannabis, Inc. about the possibility of partnering to make those wellness drinks.
Coca-Cola was itself cagey about the possibility of making the drinks, only saying that it was watching with keen interest the development of CBD in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.
The proposed drinks would be formulated and marketed as “functional recovery drinks” intended to be mild painkillers capable of combatting inflammation, as well as cramping after workouts or heavy physical activity.
It isn’t surprising that Coca-Cola is moving in this direction. Sales of its carbonated soft drinks have been on the decline due to the public’s concerns about the health implications of those soft drinks, particularly as they relate to their high sugar content.
To stay afloat and remain relevant, Coca-Cola has ventured into alcoholic drinks, bottled water, coffee and other beverages. The cannabis-infused wellness drinks would be another addition to its growing product range.
The interest of Coca-Cola in the cannabis industry provides a boost to this controversial industry, which is now gaining more acceptance in regions where it was previously unacceptable. That such a large company is thinking about investing in the cannabis industry shows that the current wave of decriminalization is unlikely to slow down any time soon.
However, Coca-Cola and other companies eyeing the cannabis industry need to tread cautiously, since the U.S. still regards cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance.
It is therefore thought that Coca-Cola may initially make its cannabis drink for the Canadian market while the legal issues in the U.S. shape up. In this sense, Canada can be seen as a testing ground where companies that want to benefit from the growing interest in cannabis can experiment and build their brands while waiting for the large U.S. market to open up at the federal level.
While Coca-Cola claims that no firm decisions have been made about its involvement in the cannabis industry, its talks with Aurora Cannabis show that Coke’s interest isn’t just casual.
What remains to be seen is how soon those drinks will hit the market, and how they will be branded. It would be interesting to know what Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) and Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) are thinking in light of the expected availability of recreational cannabis in Canada less than two weeks from now.
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