As featured in The Grocer's coverage of food show Anuga (15 October 2005), ambient, ready-to-drink C-Ice Swiss cannabis tea is already available in Germany and Italy, and it is now being aimed at UK health food stores, delis and independent retailers, as well as bars.
Produced by Austrian company Thurella and distributed by Montana Angels, the chilled black tea has added hemp blossom syrup and a miniscule proportion - 0.0015% - of hemp bloom or cannabis.
However, it contains no tetrahydrocannbinal (THC), the narcotic ingredient of the plant - a factor that is highlighted in an on-pack message.
The company is not marketing the product on its narcotic associations but focusing instead on the booming functional soft drinks market.
It claims the product's hemp content supports and stabilises the immune system and the formulation of new cells in the body. Marketing director Harinder Kohli said: "Hemp is loaded with enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Its protein content, amino acids, omega oils, gamma linolenic acid and a perfect ratio of essential fatty acids make C-Ice a simply extraordinary little pick-me-up."
The bright orange recylable 250ml cardboard cartons come in cases of 12, feature a Swiss flag and cannabis leaves and retail at £1.29.
Launch activity will centre on sampling at London clubs and summer events, such as the Notting Hill carnival on August bank holiday and Womad in Reading at the end of next month.
The brand is also sponsoring a music fiesta in Great Yarmouth from 9 to 12 July, as well as branded rickshaws in central London throughout the summer.