Coca-Cola may be getting into the cannabis market.
The soda giant told Bloomberg News it's keeping an eye on cannabis-infused products, such as those containing the nonpsychoactive CBD compound, particularly as demand for sugary and diet drinks have waned in recent years.
“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 said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
Coca-Cola is reportedly looking at one company in particular, Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian marijuana producer, the nation's third largest, valued at nearly C$9 billion.
"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 Oct. 17," Bloomberg noted.
"Coke’s possible foray into the marijuana sector comes as beverage makers are trying to add cannabis as a trendy ingredient while their traditional businesses slow. Last month, Corona beer brewer Constellation Brands Inc.announced it will spend $3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth Corp., the Canadian marijuana producer with a value that exceeds C$13 billion ($10 billion)."
News of Coca-Cola's interest in Aurora Cannabis led to a 23 percent spike in cannabis stocks Monday.
The news comes as consumer demand for CBD has never been higher. A growing body of research points to the myriad benefits of the substance, which has been identified as effective in treating pain, anxiety, and improving sleep. Researchers are also looking at its long-term benefits in treating conditions including multiple sclerosis and some forms of cancer.
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