It used to just seem like a big conspiracy or urban legend thought up in a smoke sesh. But it is true that Big Tobacco is taking over the weed industry. Now due to a larger recreational market, new investment opportunities in the plant appeal to tobacco companies. Steadily but surely, tobacco companies are investing in cannabis.
Changes For Big Tobacco
Since at least the 1970s, Big Tobacco has sized up pot as its competition. But it has also looked into it as a product. Since laws on weed have relaxed some, tobacco companies have altered their corporate strategies to be ready.
They predict that a day will come when they can sell pot products legally across the whole country. To be successful they would need to have an edge in the market. And they do.
Cigarette smoking has seen a decline in recent years. But weed has been legalized recreationally in many states. States like California promote clean air and restrict public smoking with laws. Yet they also legalized bud.
Tobacco companies are not unaware of this new opportunity. They see the loss in their sales. But wait! Weed could replace cigarettes as their next big product. Not to mention, pot could help to kick that cigarette smoking habit or ease a tobacco-caused issue like ischemia in their existing customer base.
But which tobacco companies are investing in cannabis?
Imperial Brand Changes Direction
Last year, Imperial Brand made some changes to their board of directors. The move was telling. The tobacco company appointed the chairman of PharmaCielo, a Canadian supplier of cannabis oil extracts.
According to another chairman of Imperial Brand, this new guy’s special interests in “wider consumer adjacencies will be a great asset” to their company. Of course. A fan of pot on its board shows the company strategizing to make use of weed.
But Imperial Brand’s new direction in board membership isn’t their only suggestive move. They also changed their name from Imperial Tobacco to Imperial Brand in 2015.
Their name change could be a move to do more with their product line. Expanding it to include wacky tobacky may be why there have been these corporate changes.
Alliance One International Buys A Grow Facility in Canada
Also Alliance One International bought 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm Inc., a pot grow facility in Canada. The US tobacco company from North Carolina sniffed out potential in Canada’s pending legal market. Once weed is legal in the US, these companies will find ways to make profits stateside.
Philip Morris Buys A Patent for Cannabis
One company went as far as buying a patent for the plant. Philip Morris International of Switzerland now owns a patent for GMO plants with higher terpenes.
This shows they want in on the weed game and what profits it might give. The only thing holding tobacco companies back is old federal pot laws.
With those laws gone, they will be ready for the market eager to buy weed.
Final Hit: Tobacco Companies Are Investing in Cannabis
Tobacco companies have always paid close attention to pot, both as a rival and as profit. Now they’re just waiting for the green light.
Once weed is legal, they will shift to it as a major money maker. Certainly, buying that mythic pack of marijuana Marlboros or Lucky Strikes sounds more and more possible.