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Market sends Pepsi a message: Get on board with cannabis

Investors wanted PepsiCo Inc. to say yes to cannabis.

Shares of the food and beverage giant were little changed in early trading on Tuesday after the company released quarterly earnings. But they took a dip after Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said the company has no plans to invest in cannabis.

Johnston was responding to a question from an analyst on the company’s earnings conference call. He said the federal ban on marijuana in the U.S. made it difficult for the maker of Mountain Dew and Cheetos to invest in the burgeoning industry.

“It’s fair to say we look at everything, but certainly no plans at this point to do anything,” Johnston said.

The stock was down 1.8 percent to $108.72 as of the close of the markets Tuesday in New York.

The pending legislation of marijuana in Canada and the continued creep of loosening regulations in U.S. states have driven an investment boom, with valuations of pot companies soaring in recent weeks. The food and beverage industry, meanwhile, is pondering how a buzzy new ingredient could work in its products.

Large beverage and alcohol companies, including Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Constellation Brands Inc., have invested in cannabis, while Coca-Cola Co. recently said it was examining the potential use of CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, for use in wellness drinks.