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Marlboro Parent Company May be Entering Marijuana Market

Are you concerned about the possibility that large corporations might "conquer the marijuana industry"?

by High Times | Updated on 12.6.18

For years, cannabis conspiracy theorists floated images of packs of Marlboro brand joints to illustrate the extent that corporations could conquer the marijuana industry once the drug was legalized. With Monday’s announcement by Reuters that Marlboro and Virginia Slims’ parent company Altria is discussing investment opportunities with Canadian cannabis firm Cronos Group, those alarmist tactics have become a reasonable approximation of the future of pot consumption.

“This is so meaningful because we just think this gets the ball rolling,” Michael Gorenstein, CEO and chairperson of Cronos Group, told CNN. While Cronos has copped to the fact that it is in talks with the tobacco giant’s corporation, it gave no indication that an Altria collaboration is a done deal. Nonetheless, its stock ended up rising 11 percent by Monday’s end.

Altria has not yet commented on its interest in Cronos. But there is little mystery surrounding the reasons why it would be looking to expand into the Canadian cannabis market. The company’s shares have fallen 20 percent during 2018. This is largely due to a wide-spread drop in cigarette usage. In the United States, recent studies suggest that adults are smoking fewer cigarettes than ever before—daily cigarette smokers have fallen by 15.5 percent since 2016 alone.

Cannabis is not the only savior to which the tobacco market is turning. Last week, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Altria is also looking to acquire “a significant minority stake” in prosperous e-cigarette company Juul. Daily e-cigarette users are on the rise in the United States—2.8 percent of the total population, according to some studies.

Not all of Altria’s peers are convinced that pot is the way to go. Philip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulos cited his reluctance to diversify to the fact that his corporation operates in many markets where the drug is still prohibited. After all, what would Drug War-propagating Rodrigo Duterte think of such a move? “We know the positions of the president—and, you know, we have 70 percent market share in the Philippines,” Calantzopoulous told Bloomberg this week. “I can only imagine if we were called and asked, in a hypothetical case, ‘what are you people doing?’”

Altria seems ready to field those calls, and has some very profitable reasons to do so. Marijuana Business Daily estimates that there is currently a $52.5 billion demand for marijuana in the United States. Canada is the world’s largest national market for legal weed, and Cronos recently built a location there that can produce up to 40,000 kilograms of cannabis on an annual basis. The Canadian company has focused on bolstering its technological capacities to make a long-term market leader, and has even launched a project with Boston’s Ginkgo Bioworks to develop artificial cannabinoids.

Marlboro’s parent company is far from the only large corporation that seems to be placing its bets on the green. Molson Coors, Walmart, Pepsi, and Coca Cola are all household names that have publicly flirted with the possibility of creating cannabis products. The message is clear: Corporate cannabis is no longer the stuff of supposition, but rather a rapidly encroaching reality.

The post Marlboro Parent Company May be Entering Marijuana Market appeared first on High Times.

High Times

Written by High Times

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(49)
  • Jill
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Tobacco companies, big pharma and other greedy companies need to be kept out of the marijuana business. They’ll find some way to change the herb to another addictive substance for their own profits and the detriment of society!

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  • Abbi
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    I’m not too worried cause I know they’ll dilute the marijuana with all sorts of chemicals and people will see a huge difference, pot is easy to grow more so than tobacco and people will make their own like they with rolling their own tobacco. What worries me is how easy kids get tobacco and I can picture them getting it, knowing the cigarette companies they will put in nicotine to make it addictive like they do with cigarettes. This will make something harmless in to something harmful.

    Like (9)
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  • Marylynn
    12/07/2018
    ···

    In order for them to do this, they would have to get our lawmakers to declassify marijuana as a class 1 drug at the Federal level, which I don't foresee happening. The tobacco industry shouldn't be allowed to get into the marijuana business, they can't be trusted.

    Like (3)
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  • Deirdre
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Once again the big corporations are trying to take over and make prices higher and the product will be worse

    Like (6)
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  • Claudia
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    The marijuana industry and all medical value within it will dissipate. It will turn into a corporation based on money, not on the wellbeing of its users.

    Like (4)
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  • Mark
    12/07/2018
    ···

    I just told my wife last week you watch big tobacco companies will start growing weed vs tobacco since its decline . Well who else might one expect to jump into the game and make the billions???

    Like (1)
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  • Mark
    Voted Yes
    12/08/2018
    ···

    Phillip-Morris has had marijuana marketing artwork mock-ups around for 30 years. They are beyond excited! Jumping in with both feet to package and distribute pot to further undermine our society. Just what we need. Let’s make Americans even dumber!

    Like (5)
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  • TrulyTexan
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    You know as soon as there was even a hint of legalizing it, tobacco companies started hybridization strains with more addictive properties and marketable names. The will also make sure legislation is passed to make growing your own illegal.

    Like (4)
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  • MAvet75
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Marlboro is exactly the kind of company that doesn’t need to be part of the marijuana industry. They acted for decades as if their products caused no heath damage, and have worked to hide facts, all for the pursuit of greed. Keep these companies out of the industry.

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  • Leon
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    And the state and federal ‘representatives’ lining their pockets in the process.

    Like (3)
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  • Myles
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    I don’t trust tobacco companies jumping into the marijuana industry. Although, I see no viable way of preventing it. I just personally believe they will surely find a way to increase additives to their “blend” to make the marijuana “more pleasurable” aka addictive. Keep marijuana simple and natural.

    Like (3)
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  • Catherine
    Voted Yes
    12/07/2018
    ···

    Of course they are going to do this. It fits with their other products in that they have similar construction so to speak, but it's a really bad idea. Also, there needs to be more small businesses that can survive in the current climate of oligarchy that we live in. I don't smoke the stuff but if the country is going to allow its use, at least make it so its not controlled by another big corporation.

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  • Michael
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    These companies have contributed to countless deaths by ignoring the evidence that cigarette use causes lung and esophageal cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They should be permitted to suffer with the decline of tobacco use.

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  • Matt
    Voted Yes
    12/07/2018
    ···

    marijuana is a plant.period.I can grow my own plants.no corporation can own nature.

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  • Cindy
    Voted Yes
    12/07/2018
    ···

    DUH!!! You have just switched Big Tobacco for Big Marijuana with all of the same medical issues as well as new ones-Bravo idiots!

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  • Lynn
    Voted No
    12/06/2018
    ···

    The scummy bastards wouldn’t even blink at taking the next step down to hell. Surprised they haven’t done it already. Buy enough politicians and anything is possible, and they’ve been doing it for decades.

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  • Martha
    Voted Yes
    12/16/2018
    ···

    I'm always concerned when I see a huge company wanting to become bigger. Be nice to see smaller entrepreneurs build companies that grow and market weed. Marlboro had its time of profit, lying, and now it should bow out (but I've seen too many American corporations do the dirty, so not much hope of that).

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  • Trishia
    Voted Yes
    12/07/2018
    ···

    They will do the same thing that they did with tobacco put something in it to make it addictive so that everyone will buy it's because they are greedy they in the pharmacy companies should be downsized stay away from pot both of them

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  • Lionman
    Voted Yes
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Marlboro doesn’t have a good track record, this I would doubt their methods.

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  • Steven
    Voted Yes
    12/07/2018
    ···

    I worked for a tobacco company for 19 years, and they just keep raising the price to make exorbitant profits. Let the little guy make the money on this opportunity.

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