Coca-Cola is exploring a joint venture with Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Inc. that just gave American pot stocks a big buzz. Traditional soda sales are in a health consciousness nose-dive, so Coca-Cola admits “it’s monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in drinks infused with CBD.”
While marijuana has long been associated with Mexico, America’s neighbor to the north is poised to be the first G-7 nation to legalize marijuana next month. Canada is ramping up a whole new industry and will soon begin exporting numerous cannabis based products.
Cannabidiol, Coke explains to Bloomberg, “treats pain but doesn’t get you high.” their spokesman Kent Landers reports in a statement issued by email, “we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.”
Just the deal’s rumors have marijuana industry stocks edging upward across the board, due to the megalithic size of Atlanta, Georgia based Coca-Cola and its global marketing reach. Landers emphasized that nothing has been carved in stone. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
Aurora’s shares traded in New York boomed by 23 percent on Monday just because of the news. Recently, Canada’s third-largest marijuana producing 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 October 17,” Bloomberg writes.
Other industry stocks are rising with the tide. Tilray Inc. jumped 9.4 percent. The BI Canada Cannabis Competitive Peers Index “has more than doubled in the past 12 months.” That was in spite of a correction this year. The index “has dropped 24 percent in 2018 on concern that the stocks are overvalued.”
Coke’s motivation is that they are trying to compensate for sagging soda sales by leveraging the social perception of cannabis as “a trendy ingredient.”
Constellation Brands Inc., brewer of Corona beer recently announced “it will spend $3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth Corp.,” Bloomberg reports. The Canadian marijuana producer already lists a balance sheet value “that exceeds C$13 billion,” which would be about $10 billion here in the United States.
Another brewing company, Molson Coors, is teaming up with Hexo Corp, based in Quebec, Canada. They used to be called Hydropothecary Corp. and paved the way by developing cannabis drinks for the Canadian market.
The bottler of Guinness beer doesn’t want to be left out in the cold, so Diageo PLC is “holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal.”
Heineken NV aims to go even higher. They plan on infusing their Lagunitas craft-brew with THC instead of CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main active ingredient, working in conjunction with a whole slew of other alkaloids in marijuana, that do get people high.
In order to staunch the incessant flood of red ink plaguing soft-drink manufacturers as soda consumption plummets, Coca-Cola has been branching out into other products for quite a while. The company is once known for Coke and Sprite now has juice, tea, and mineral water options.
In August, Coca-Cola will add the Costa Coffee chain to its holdings for a cool $5.1 billion.
Up in Canada, the talks with Aurora have centered around “CBD-infused drinks to ease inflammation, pain and cramping,” Bloomberg explains.
They make sure to be clear to the press that “CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and doesn’t produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.”
They also want to be crystal clear that “there are no guarantees of any deal between Aurora and Coca-Cola.”
Aurora also emailed a statement through their spokesperson, Heather MacGregor. She relates that the grower “has expressed specific interest in the infused-beverage space, and intends to enter that market.” They are playing it cagey for now, unwilling to commit to plans with Coke.
Today, marijuana is totally illegal at the nationwide level in the United States, even though many states have legalized or decriminalized it, both for medical and discretionary use. Despite the legal dichotomy, Bloomberg notes, “there is growing acceptance of the use of CBD derived from marijuana to treat illnesses.”
Anxiety, chronic pain and epilepsy are some of the most common therapeutic uses for the plant and its derivatives. The FDA recently approved “the first-ever medical treatment derived from a marijuana plant.” GW Pharmaceuticals has the full go-ahead to start marketing an epilepsy treatment under the name Epidiolex.
“This is an important medical advance,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb proclaimed in June.
“These patients deserve and will soon have access to a cannabinoid medicine that has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, manufactured to assure quality and consistency, and available by prescription under a physician’s care.”
The new medication is intended for two specific forms of epilepsy. “In clinical trials, the number of seizures were cut nearly in half,” for patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Previously, no seizure medication at all had been approved for the Dravet syndrome.
After it hits the shelves, doctors are expected to begin prescribing it “off-label” for an assortment of epileptic conditions.
Senior citizens across America are anxiously waiting to see if a recent Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for individual states to legalize recreational pot will bear fruit. Grandpa shouldn’t have to look over his shoulder much longer since the high court’s ruling that tossed out the antiquated Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
By firmly declaring that the states have the power to allow betting on sports games, they cleared the way for legalized marijuana under the same principal.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for the constitution defending majority. Their ruling says that the 1992 act didn’t just infringe on state prerogatives it actually “commandeered” power from the states, “essentially forcing them to act in ways they otherwise would not.”