High times are here for the marijuana industry. Now, even the big boys want in on the action. A new Forbes report says Coca-Cola is in talks with a Canadian company to produce cannabis-infused drinks. The drinks would be enhanced with a chemical found in marijuana called cannabidiol, or CBD--which doesn't create a high but has been shown to relieve pain and stress.
The push for cannabis-infused beverages shows the pot industry has moved far beyond bongs and brownies. "The CBD market basically uses the health benefits of the cannabis plant without THC, and THC is the component of cannabis that creates a high," says Michael Welch, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain High Brands. He tells KTRH that his company is also releasing a CBD-infused drink to the market.
That market is growing rapidly, as state after state has legalized marijuana in some form or measure. "Forty states have passed legislation that legalizes hemp and CBD," says Welch. "And at some point, I think marijuana will become legal at the federal level."
Texas is among those 40 states, although lawmakers here have only legalized the limited use of CBD oil for treatment of conditions like epilepsy. Legal cannabis dispensaries began opening in Texas earlier this year.
The trend is headed in the right direction, according to Welch. "The cannabis industry is projected to be a 22-billion dollar industry by the year 2022, so it's growing by leaps and bounds," he says. "It's a very exciting time in this industry, and I think that basically, this is the biggest financial opportunity in the United States since the end of prohibition."