The Coca-Cola Co linked to cannabis drinks move

Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index-listed company Coca Cola is seen in Los Angeles California

"We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world", Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News.

Shares of Aurora were up almost 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the report.

Reports from Bloomberg indicate that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola may be looking at getting into cannabis-based beverages, but the beverage giant denied those reports in a statement released Monday.

According to a report by BNN Bloomberg, sources said that the world's largest beverage company is interested "in developing beverages that are infused with cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants".

Molson Coors has also entered the marijuana space through a joint venture with Canada's Hydrotherapy Corporation to make non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages. "No decisions have been made at this time".

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Estimates vary, but the consumer CBD market is estimated to grow to US$2.1 billion by 2020, from $202 million in 2015, according to a recent report in the Hemp Business Journal.

In addition, a number of Canadian cannabis companies, including Cronos and MedMen Enterprises, now trade on USA stock exchanges, and some American companies have taken stakes. Diageo, maker of Guinness beer, is holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal, BNN Bloomberg reported last month. For example, Heineken's craft beer Lagunitas recently launched Hi-Fi Hops, a beer-flavored sparkling water with THC and CBD.

While marijuana remains illegal at the national level in the US, there is growing acceptance of the use of CBD derived from marijuana to treat illnesses ranging from chronic pain to anxiety and epilepsy.

Big corporate names have inched into the marijuana industry since Canada approved recreational use, seeing the country as a production base and testing ground until U.S. Federal Law changes.

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