Coca-Cola's CEO shoots down rumours that the beverage giant is eyeing the legal cannabis market 'at this stage' — and it could mean missing out on a bigger market than soft drink

Paul Reynolds/FlickrCoca-Cola shut down buzz about the beverage giant entering the CBD space.

Coca-Cola shut down buzz that the beverage giant is eyeing the legal marijuana market in the immediate future.

On a call with investors on Tuesday, Coca-Cola CEO John Quincey called a question about when the company would consider entering the market for CBD, one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis, a “simple one.”

“We don’t have any plans at this stage” to enter the CBD market, Quincey said.

Quincey added: “So that’s where we are.”

In September, Bloomberg News reported that Coca-Cola was in discussions with Aurora Cannabis to develop beverages infused with CBD.

“We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis,” Coca-Cola said in a statement at the time. “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. The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”

On Tuesday, Quincey seemed to throw cold water on industry buzz regarding a potential deal between Coca-Cola and a CBD maker in the near future.

CBD is already a booming, $US1 billion business, and it is being used as an ingredient in salves, oils, balms, and beverages, despite continuing legal questions. Beverage giants investing in CBD-infused drinks could result in the creation of a new mainstream category of beverage.

As people drink less soda, Coca-Cola has been working to diversify its portfolio. Some industry insiders believed that CBD could be a crucial opportunity to get a foothold in a swiftly growing market.

If marijuana is made legal nationwide in the US by 2030, the legal weed industry could generate $US75 billion in sales by that year, according to a note from investment bank Cowen. In 2017, the soda industry brought in $US76.4 billion in sales,Bloomberg reports.

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