Pot Topics: Coca-Cola eyes cannabis market; Weed museum opens in Vegas

SHARE Pot Topics: Coca-Cola eyes cannabis market; Weed museum opens in Vegas
marijuana_convictions_expungements_e1535505908770.jpg

From business leaders to advocates to lawmakers, the Sun-Times has collected a list of some of the key figures in Illinois cannabis. | AP file photo

Pot Topics is a weekly collection of cannabis-related news curated by the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s this week’s top stories:

  • Coca-Cola considering CBD-infused beverages
  • Pot museum opens in downtown Las Vegas
  • Sober Dax Shepard defends wife Kristen Bell’s pot use
  • New Mexico Senate candidate Gary Johnson discloses pot sector holdings

Coca-Cola in talks to create CBD-infused drinks

Beverage giant Coco-Cola is thinking about getting into the cannabis business. | AP File photo

Beverage giant Coco-Cola is thinking about getting into the cannabis business. | AP File photo

Soda giant Coca-Cola is watching the market for drinks laced with cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis derivative that’s being used to treat everything from sleep problems to childhood epilepsy.

Coke has stressed that CBD doesn’t create the stony effects associated with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, another chemical found in the cannabis plant.

“Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola said Monday in a statement.

“The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time,” the company added.

Coca-Cola’s statement followed a Bloomberg report Monday that claimed the Atlanta-based company was in “serious talks” to create CBD-infused beverages with Canadian pot company Aurora Cannabis. Neither company has denied the report, which cited “multiple sources familiar with the matter.”

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola tested an alcoholic beverage in Japan. A cannabis-derived drink would give the company yet another option as consumers continue to move away from sugary sodas.

A growing number of alcohol companies and distributors are also getting into the pot game, with the makers of Coors and Blue Moon beers already launching drinks infused with cannabis.

According to Bloomberg, Coca-Cola’s interest in a “functional wellness beverage” with CBD could result in a drink designed to ease inflammation, cramping and other pains.

To learn more about cannabidiol, check out the Sun-Times guide to CBD.

Interactive marijuana museum opens in Las Vegas

Gabe Williams works on a exhibit at the Cannabition cannabis museum in Las Vegas. | AP Photo/John Locher

Gabe Williams works on a exhibit at the Cannabition cannabis museum in Las Vegas. | AP Photo/John Locher

A new, first-of-its-kind cannabis museum opened Thursday in downtown Las Vegas, offering visitors an immersive, 420-friendly experience.

The Cannabition Cannabis Museum features a variety of made-for-social-media exhibits,  including a slide that empties into a pool of foam pot “nuggets,” a glow-in-the-dark tree and a 24-foot bong — dubbed “Bongzilla” — that’s being touted as the world’s largest.

The attractions are all sponsored by companies working in and around the marijuana industry, including leading online pot resource Leafly, vaporizer company PAX Labs and Raw rolling papers, among others.

Although Nevada fully legalized pot over a year ago, a statewide ban on public consumption will prevent visitors from sparking up at the museum. Nevertheless, founder J.J. Walker hopes the space will help further destigmatize marijuana use.

“Our goal when people come out of this is that they don’t fear the cannabis industry if they are not believers in the industry,” Walker said. “Cannabition is not about just serving people that like marijuana, it’s about serving the masses that want to learn about cannabis and or just have fun and go do a cool art experience.”

Cannabition guests can wander through 12 installations with rooms like “seed,” where they can lie down in a bed shaped like a marijuana seed, and “grow,” which features artificial plants of various sizes placed under bright lights to represent a grow facility.

There is also a space with huge faux buds representing different pot strains and another room with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary “Red Shark” Chevrolet Caprice.

The museum is not exactly the Smithsonian of marijuana, but it has some educational components. Guests get an introduction from museum guides and some graphics on walls explain how concentrates are made and the differences between indica and sativa cannabis strains.

To buy tickets, click here.

Sober Dax Shepard defends wife Kristen Bell’s pot use

Dax Shepard participates in the 17th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach on Sunday, March 5, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Dax Shepard participates in the 17th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach on Sunday, March 5, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s weed use after she admitted to puffing a vaporizer in front of him earlier this week.

During her appearance Monday on comedian Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, “The Good Place” star said she sometimes tokes in front of Shepard, who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past.

“I like my vape pen quite a bit and I smoke around my husband,” Bell told Maron. “It doesn’t seem to bother him.”

“Weed rules,” she added.

On Wednesday, CBS’ “The Talk” referenced the couple’s situation in a tweet: “Kristen Bell vapes weed around Dax Shepard, even though he’s sober. If you were sober, would you expect your spouse to be?”

Shepard — who recently wrote, directed and starred in the big screen reboot of the ‘80s cop show “CHiPS” — quickly shot back with his own tweet.

“That would be like a diabetic expecting their partner to never eat dessert,” he said. “Get real!”

Earlier this month, Bell penned a heartfelt Instagram post commemorating Shepard’s 14 years sober.

“I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it,” she wrote.

Despite his sobriety, Bell told Maron that Shepard has encouraged her to experiment with psychedelic drugs.

“He just feels you shouldn’t leave earth without trying ecstasy or mushrooms,” she said of her husband.

Libertarian Senate candidate Gary Johnson discloses pot investments

Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson disclosed his financial interests in the cannabis sector this week. | AP file photo

Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson disclosed his financial interests in the cannabis sector this week. | AP file photo

Gary Johnson, a Libertarian running a U.S. Senate campaign in New Mexico, disclosed his investments in the cannabis sector, which include stock holdings, a profit sharing agreement and recent capital gains on investment sales.

This week, Johnson’s filings disclosed that he owns stock totaling more than $250,000 in Nevada-based cannabis company Kush. In addition, he has a profit sharing agreement as the advisor to the pot-driven investment fund CB1 Capital.

Johnson, a two-time Libertarian presidential candidate candidate, also reported capital gains of at least $100,000 from Cannabis Sativa stock. He previously served as the Nevada-based company’s CEO.

Johnson, who is running against incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich, has been a longtime pot advocate.

Associated Press and USA Today contributed to this report.

Upcoming cannabis events in the Chicago area

  • Sept. 22: Modern Cannabis hosts a “Get a Card” event at Emporium Wicker Park, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.
  • Sept. 22:Nature’s Balance Acupuncture & Wellness Center hosts a CBD hemp oil tasting at 820 E. Terra Cotta Ave. in Crystal Lake.
  • Sept. 23: The Midwest Compassion Center hosts its monthly patient social and offers application assistance at 721 N. Independence Blvd. in Romeoville.
  • Sept. 24: Arlington Heights Memorial Library offers medical cannabis application assistance at 500 N. Dunton Ave. in Arlington Heights.
  • Sept. 27: Ellementa Chicago hosts a do-it-yourself herbal tincture class. The Living Room, 2423 W. North Ave.
  • Sept. 28:Ancien Cycle Cafe hosts a discussion about medical cannabis at 1558 E. 53rd St.

Sun-Times Cannabis Info Guides:

Our coverage also includes:

The Latest
Recent success for jumbos since the perch season reopened lends some immediate hope, long-term look is not as exciting; plus the Stray Cast.
Since being traumatized by a violent assault, woman has put her mate through a lot, and she feels bad that she’s no longer interested in a physical relationship.
Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.
The fatal shooting occurred in McKinley Park on the Southwest Side.