By Grow

COCA-COLA SAYS it’s monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in drinks infused with CBD — a non-psychotropic cannabinoid in cannabis that treats pain without getting you high. The Atlanta-based soft drinks maker is in talks with Canadian grower/producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the beverages, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television.

“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.” Landers declined to comment on Aurora.

Aurora’s shares surged on the news, jumping as much as 23 percent on the following Monday in New York to $8. Other stocks in the cannabis industry got a boost, with Tilray Inc. adding as much as 9.4 percent in response to Coca- Cola’s interest.

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 $13 billion ($10 billion).

WEEDMD INC. and Phivida Holdings Inc. have signed an agreement to develop and operate Cannabis Beverages Inc. (“CanBev”) at WeedMD’s state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in Ontario.

CBI plans to manufacture, market, and distribute cannabinoid infused products for use initially into the medical market as well as for the recreational Canadian markets, and then for use internationally, where such products are permitted. CanBev has plans to build and operate a federally approved cannabis-infused beverage production facility to be located on the WeedMD 610,000 sq. ft. expansion property located in Strathroy, Ontario. CanBev has no plans to sell any cannabis- infused products in the U.S. or any other market unless or until it is legally permissible to do so at all government levels.

Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will be strategic partners in the development of CanBev. WeedMD will act as the exclusive supplier of cannabinoid extracts for use in subsequent cannabis infused consumer products to be made at the CanBev facility. WeedMD will assist CanBev with obtaining all necessary federal licenses and permits and has also agreed to provide all current and future genetics.

MOLSON COORS BREWING Company said that its Canadian business unit has entered into an agreement to develop cannabis-infused beverages, following legalization.

Molson Coors Canada is teaming with leading Canadian cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation (HEXO), to form a joint venture to pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis- infused beverages.
The joint venture will be structured as a standalone start-up company with its own board of directors and an independent management team. Molson Coors Canada will have a 57.5 percent controlling interest in the JV, with HEXO having the remaining ownership interest.

The new company will combine the proven beverage experience of Canada’s leading brewer with a recognized innovator in the fast-growing cannabis sector to explore the highly anticipated consumable cannabis market, which should be recreationally legal this month.

“Canada is breaking new ground in the cannabis sector and, as one of the country’s leading beverage companies, Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment.” said Frederic Landtmeters, president and CEO of Molson Coors Canada.