Written by: A.J. Herrington – High Times
Billionaire and Coca-Cola heir Alkiviades “Alki” David was arrested on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts last week after customs officials discovered 5,000 cannabis plants on his private jet. David and his friend Chase Ergen were taken into custody by officers with the Anti-Narcotics Unit at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport after the plants, seed, and CBD oil products were found. David was then released but arrested again on May 9 when he tried to leave the island nation.
The billionaire was charged with crimes including possession with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into St. Kitts. David was released on bail after paying a cash bail of approximately $30,000. He is due for a court appearance on May 14 and has been required to surrender his travel credentials and report to the Frigate Bay Police Station daily while awaiting the hearing.
David is a member of the Leventis family and heir to the Leventis-David Group, the majority owner of the Coca-Cola Hellenic bottling plants in Europe. The resident of the Isle of Man has an estimated net worth of more than $3 billion, according to media reports.
David is a medicinal cannabis advocate and owner of the CBD oil company SwissX. David has denied the drug charges and claims that the plants carried aboard his aircraft are hemp and not illegal in St. Kitts.
“We’re going to go into the granular details of what cannabis genus it is,” David said at a press conference on Monday. “We didn’t even bring in cannabis, we brought in a cousin of cannabis that has been genetically modified.”
At the press conference, David blamed St. Kitts Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris for his arrest.
“This little dictator who thinks he can do this,” said David. “It’s illegal and it’s unconscionable. Mr. Harris here has a whole new thing coming at him.”
“I’ve never been to jail in my life, I’ve never had handcuffs put on me,” he added. “I was degraded, my friend is being degraded and we’ve done nothing wrong.”
Representatives for Harris declined to comment on the situation, according to media reports.
SwissX might not be the only one of David’s companies interested in the benefits of CBD. In October of last year, media reports claimed that Coca-Cola was in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis to develop a CBD-infused beverage, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television. An unnamed source reported that the two companies were “pretty advanced down the path” of coming to an agreement.
Heather MacGregor, a spokesperson for Aurora Cannabis, declined to comment on a potential deal with Coca-Cola. However, she did confirm that the company is interested in pursuing opportunities in the CBD beverage market.
“As a rule, we do not discuss business development initiatives until they are finalized, however, we have a responsibility to our shareholders to give proper consideration to all relevant opportunities that are presented,” MacGregor said.
The following month, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincy denied the reports of a potential CBD beverage during a conference call with investors.
“We don’t have any plans at this stage,” Quincy said.