There Is A High Correlation Between Soda And Marijuana

The news that soda giant Coca-Cola (KO) could be considering an investment or partnership with Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF) rocked the cannabis industry. First, because Coke is the king of beverages and secondly because cannabis is been so taboo in the consumer products industry.

“Consumer research shows Coca-Cola’s interest in marijuana is well-founded,” said Jeff Stein, Vice President at Consumer Research Around Cannabis (CRAC), a U.S. consumer company that specializes in researching the general consumer market and more recently, targeting cannabis consumers. “Soft drink users are more inclined to cannabis use than the general market according to our ongoing studies,” he said. The online study covered 36,199 adults of all age groups regarding purchasing behavior.

CRAC said that the more a person drinks soda, the more likely they are to purchase cannabis. Stein said that about 15% of the general market says they would buy adult use cannabis over the next year, but people who drink soda at least five times a week or more, that number pops to 18%. A whopping one out of five people who drink ten or more sodas a week plan on buying adult use cannabis in the next year.


% General % Of Adults Who Are Extremely
Consumer In Past 7 Days Market Adults /Very Likely To Buy Marijuana Index*
MONSTER 1.1% 2.1% 201
MOUNTAIN DEW 8.3% 13.0% 157
FANTA 1.8% 2.6% 142
SPRITE 8.5% 10.7% 126
DR PEPPER 9.3% 11.5% 124
PEPSI COLA 19.9% 23.7% 119
COCA COLA 27.7% 31.8% 114
CANADA DRY 1.6% 1.5% 97
DIET MOUNTAIN DEW 1.2% 1.1% 89
7-UP 2.2% 1.9% 88
A&W ROOTBEER 1.7% 1.3% 79
DIET DR PEPPER 1.5% 1.1% 72
DIET PEPSI 3.8% 2.5% 66
COKE ZERO 2.2% 1.5% 65
DIET COKE 6.6% 3.7% 56

Chart provided by Consumer Research Around Cannabis

* 2.1% of adults are extremely or very likely to buy marijuana this is 2 times the general market that drinks. Monster thus an index of 201. If it was the same as the general market the index would be 100.

31% of those surveyed that drank Coke in the past seven days were very likely to buy adult use cannabis, 23% of Pepsi (PEP) drinkers were extremely likely to make a purchase and Mountain Dew was in third place at 13%. Mountain Dew is owned by Pepsi and mostly associated with young, male consumers due to its sponsorship of many action sports. The caffeine in Mountain Dew is significantly higher than Coke.

The soda drinkers that are least likely to purchase adult use cannabis are diet soda drinkers. Only 1.1% of diet Mountain Dew drinkers and 1.1% of Diet Dr. Pepper drinkers plan on making a cannabis purchase. The only other soda drinkers that weren’t diet soda drinkers that had a low likelihood of buying adult use cannabis were people that drank A&W Root Beer, 7-Up and Canada Dry.

Soda’s Pharmaceutical History

The two products also have a somewhat shared history. Cannabis was originally a medicinal drug in the late 1800’s that was sold by pharmacists and carried by the major drug manufacturers of the time like Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Soda was initially sold as artificial mineral water and was also used for medicinal purposes.  This is why the soda fountains were first found in drug stores. Cocaine and caffeine were sometimes added to the drinks for medicinal purposes.

So, both of these products began life in the drug store and now both could find themselves on a shelf at a dispensary together. Coming full circle.




Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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