Speaking on a conference call with analysts following the company's third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, Oct. 30, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the company has no plans to develop drinks or any other products infused with CBD - the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain but does not induce a high.
"We don't have any plans at this stage to get into the space. So that's kind of where we are," Quincey said, according to a FactSet transcript of the call. Shares were up about 2% in midday trading; they have gained approximately 2.8% in 2018.
Coca-Cola last month said it was monitoring the nascent cannabis industry, and was potentially interested in exploring drinks infused with CBD. The Atlanta-based soft drinks maker was reportedly in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB) - Get Aurora Cannabis Inc. Report to explore the development of beverages, according to Bloomberg News.
"I believe that down the road CBD/nutritional supplement beverages will be a significant soft drink sector," said Charles Taerk, president and CEO of Toronto-based Faircourt Asset Management. "The CEO of Coke has not said he wouldn't go in the sector - he just said not now."
Norman Levine, a partner and portfolio manager with Toronto-based wealth management firm Portfolio Management Corp., noted on Twitter on Tuesday that Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) - Get Constellation Brands, Inc. Class A Report , a wine and spirits maker that has more recently pivoted to pot, had "no business" investing $4.5 billion in Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC) - Get Canopy Growth Corporation Report based on expectations that a similar kind of rumored Aurora and Coca-Cola arrangement would follow.
"I don't think Canadian pot stocks have been expecting this," Levine tweeted. "Proves that $STZ is a lone wolf and had no business investing $4.5 billion in $WEED. Money that will be proven, over time, to have been pissed away."
Marijuana became a legal substance to purchase and use in Canada on Oct. 17, following the government's passing of Bill C-45. Cannabis-focused companies including Aurora and Constellation have exploded in Canada as investors have piled in on expectations of future growth and profits.