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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 21, 2018: This week, Bloomberg broke the news that beverage giant, Coca-Cola, may be looking at developing cannabis infused drinks and CBD water in the short-term.

Coca-Cola, according to the report, says it’s monitoring the nascent industry and is interested in CBD – the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – for beverages as soda consumption slows.

Bloomberg says Coca-Cola is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the drinks.

As Coca-Cola spokesperson Kent Landers put it simply: “The space is evolving quickly.”

The giant’s new focus on this market comes as Heineken’s Lagunitas craft-brewing label launched a brand specializing in non-alcoholic drinks infused with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.

Corona beer brewer, Constellation Brands, also recently announced that it would spend $3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth, the Canadian marijuana producer with a value that exceeds C$13 billion while Molson Coors Brewing said it is starting a joint venture with Quebec’s Hydropothecary to develop cannabis drinks in Canada.

Diageo, maker of Guinness beer, also is reportedly holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal.

So what about Caribbean brewers and beverage manufacturers? Will they also consider tapping into this market? No word yet as many governments continue to slowly move to consider decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana locally and show slight interest in the growing medical marijuana market.

SM Jaleel & Company Ltd, also known as SMJ, is the largest manufacturer of non-alcoholic drinks in the English-speaking Caribbean while Banks DIH Ltd., a publicly traded food and beverage in Guyana, traces its origins back to 1840. But no such visionary or controversial announcement from any of these companies to date.

But while the Caribbean sits on this natural herb, reports indicate the CBD industry is rapidly expanding. According to a Brightfield Group report, the CBD industry is around $600 million USD in the US alone and the global projection for 2018. should be around $1 billion.

The report projects a five-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 132 percent, which puts the US Market in 2019. just below $1.4 billion.

Currently, the biggest players in the CBD industry are:

CW Hemp – 14 percent market share

CV Sciences – 12 percent

Kannaway and HempMeds (Medical Marijuana Inc.) – 10 percent

Green Roads – 6 percent

These are the most popular CBD product types so far:

Tinctures – 39% of sales

Topicals – 19% of sales

Capsules – 17% of sales

The rest of the products are various types of creams and infused drinks and foods, such as CBD water, facial scrubs, honey and coffee.

Hopefully, we’ll see the CBD market blossom in the Caribbean region as well much like tourism has in recent years.

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