While market experts might anticipate Big Tobacco to enter the cannabis industry soon, the competition could be fiercer than expected. That’s because soft drink titan Coca-Cola is in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis Inc. to produce cannabis-infused drinks, according to a recent report from BNN Bloomberg.
However, Coca-Cola wouldn’t be interested in following the trend set forth by alcohol companies making similar plays into the cannabis-infused drink market. Lagunitas debuted the Hi-Fi Hops earlier this year, a THC-infused and non-alcoholic beverage, while Blue Moon creator Keith Villa announced plans to debut an entire line of similar drinks. Don’t forget Moors Colson, has very publicly flirted with entering that market as well.
Related Story: 5 Facts You Need To Know About Cannabis Beer
All those drinks mentioned produce a “buzz,” like you might get from consuming cannabis otherwise. Instead Coca-Cola is developing drinks infused with cannabidiol (CBD) that will soothe inflammation, pain, and cramping.
“It’s going to be more of the ‘recovery drink’ category,” one source told Bloomberg.
While Bloomberg’s sources indicated the companies are “pretty advanced down the path” of striking a deal, neither Coca-Cola or Aurora representatives were keen to speak on the record on the matter. Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers wouldn’t comment on Aurora directly, but did tip that the company does have interest in that area.
“Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Landers told BNN Bloomberg. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
Related Story: Are Canadian Cannabis Stocks Too High?
Last month, the Globe and Mail reported that Coca-Cola had been circling the cannabis industry, trying to find a way in. At the time, it wasn’t clear which company Coke might partner with or what product they might be developing.
Meanwhile, Aurora spokeswoman Heather MacGregor also declined to comment on Coca-Cola specifically, though did mention that Aurora is interested in the infused-beverage marketplace.
“As a rule, we do not discuss business development initiatives until they are finalized, however we have a responsibility to our shareholders to give proper consideration to all relevant opportunities that are presented,” MacGregor said.