Marlboro maker reportedly interested in joining marijuana industry

(courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The world’s largest tobacco company is now planning to enter the legal cannabis market.

The Altria Group Inc. — owners of Philip Morris USA, Nat Sherman, and several other cigarette companies — is in talks to purchase the Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group, reports Reuters.

The acquisition of Cronos would give Altria a better sense of catering to a legal marijuana market, as the recent legalization of recreational pot has allowed Canada to serve as a testing ground for cannabis companies planning to expand globally as other countries follow suit.

Cronos confirmed talks with Altria on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Altria’s shares have fallen by more than 20 percent throughout 2018, as cigarette smoking continues to decline. According to the Guardian, federal data showed an estimated 14% of adults in the country smoked cigarettes in 2017, amounting to the lowest level ever.

With the prospective move, Altria joins companies such as Constellation Brands and CERIA Beverages with attempts to break into commercial cannabis.

Despite the talks between the two groups, however, there’s no official agreement on a deal as of yet.

“No agreement has been reached with respect to any such transaction and there can be no assurance such discussions will lead to an investment or other transaction involving the companies,” Cronos announced in a statement.

Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by SFGate or the San Francisco Chronicle. The authors are solely responsible for the content.

Oscar Pascual

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