In yet another sign that the landscape is shifting towards legal cannabis use in North America, Altria, the company behind Marlboro cigarettes, just announced a massive investment in cannabis company Cronos Group. The investment, worth 2.4 Canadian dollars (about $1.8 billion US), is reportedly part of a larger trend of big tobacco companies getting more and more interested in the world of cannabis, and putting up the money to show it.
Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein is quoted enthusiastically in the press release announcing the investment, explaining why the partnership makes sense and giving a brief outline of what the company plans to do with all this extra money:
"Altria is the ideal partner for Cronos Group, providing the resources and expertise we need to meaningfully accelerate our strategic growth … The proceeds from Altria's investment will enable us to more quickly expand our global infrastructure and distribution footprint, while also increasing investments in R&D and brands that resonate with our consumers. Importantly, Altria shares our vision of driving long-term value through innovation, and we look forward to continuing to differentiate in this area."
On the stock market, investors responded very favorably to the news, and Cronos' stock saw a reported 35 percent jump after the announcement.
Other big brands have gotten involved in the cannabis industry as of late, and it's not just tobacco giants that are looking at incorporating the product into their businesses. Constellation Brands is the company behind such favorites as Corona beer and Svedka vodka, and in August of this year it announced a $4 billion investment in a Canadian cannabis producer called Canopy Growth, and the following month it was reported that Coca-Cola was in negotiations with a company called Aurora Cannabis to possibly collaborate on a line of beverages infused with CBD (a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis).