The chief executive of The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest beverage company, has reaffirmed that it doesn’t have any current plans to develop cannabis-infused beverages.
“We don’t have any plans at this stage to get into this space. That’s kind of where we are,” James Quincey said Tuesday during a conference call when asked for an update on what kind of changes would need to occur in the cannabis industry in order for Coca-Cola to develop drinks infused with cannabis.
Last month, BNN Bloomberg exclusively reported that Coca-Cola was in serious talks with Aurora Cannabis Inc. to develop beverages that include cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants.
At the time, Coca-Cola said that it was actively monitoring the growth of CBD as an ingredient in beverages but no decisions had been made at the time. Aurora Cannabis chief executive officer Terry Booth told BNN Bloomberg in an interview that the company was in discussions with three beverage companies for a potential partnership, but no agreements had been made yet.
Estimates vary, but the consumer CBD market is estimated to grow to US$2.1 billion by 2020, from $202 million in 2015, according to a recent report in the Hemp Business Journal.
The trend toward infused beverages is already evident, including Canopy Growth’s partnership with Constellation Brands. Meanwhile, Heineken N.V. launched an “IPA-inspired, THC-infused sparkling water” via its U.S. craft Lagunitas subsidiary earlier this year.
Cannabis drinks and other edibles will be made legal in Canada no later than October 2019, according to Canadian government officials.