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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The legalization of marijuana has been a subject of debate for years in the United States. The federal law has yet to change, but several states have passed laws illegally legalizing marijuana use regardless. Marijuana is now available in such states for a mix of medical and recreational uses, and companies have begun trying to capitalize on the market for cannabis infused foods and drinks. The market in the United States is currently small given that marijuana is still officially illegal, but Coca-Cola is considering returning to its roots and moving into the market for cannabis infused drinks.

Coke has stated that it is “closely watching” the potential growth of a market for CBD, a non-psychoactive component in marijuana. CBD does not produce a high for those who ingest it, but it has been used for medical purposes such as easing inflammation, pain and nausea.

“The space is evolving quickly,” Coke said. “No decisions have been made at this time.”

Coke has supposedly been in talks with Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian company that has expressed interest in cannabis drinks in the past, but neither would comment on a possible deal.

“There is so much happening in this area right now and we think it has incredible potential,” said Aurora spokesperson Heather MacGregor. “Stories like this are further validation of the massive global potential of the cannabis industry.”

Coke’s potential interest in cannabis infused drinks has caught the eye of many, and it is unlikely that the massive company is purely interested in the Canadian market. The odds are that they are eyeing the potential market in the United States, but it is unlikely that such a massive company would sell cannabis infused drinks in the United States unless CBD and other components of marijuana were legalized. Some predict that Coke would instead use the Canadian market as a testing ground to develop the drink so that Coke would be ready to launch the product in American if CBD was ever legalized.

“I can’t imagine [Coke] is [developing a cannabis infused drink] just for the 35 million people in Canada,” said Kris Kane, president of 4Front, a firm that advises companies on the legalities of marijuana and is an expert on cannabis law. “They clearly have an eye on the U.S. market.”

The potential market for drinks infused with chemicals derived from marijuana could reach up to $50 billion in the United States if cannabis was to be legalized. That said, there is no guarantee that the drug will be legalized in America. As such, the fate of cannabis-infused Coke remains uncertain.

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